Year Joined MKLM: 1991-1995; 2000
People Served: More than 160 people weekly.
Project Goal(s): Provide training in restorative justice practices. Empower people to heal from violence. Teach ways to transform conflicts into peace. Use restorative justice practices to resolve conflicts in communities.
Joanne is originally from Philadelphia, PA. She worked for many years as a junior-high school teacher and school principal in Philadelphia and Washington, DC. She participated in Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Anacostia, DC. Joanne has done volunteer work at women’s shelters, with literacy programs, and in educational groups. She also worked with RCIA programs and participated as a member of Parish Councils.
Joanne first joined Maryknoll Lay Missioners in 1991 and served in Brazil until 1995. At that time her work was with a grassroots housing group organizing people in shantytowns and with helping to empower women. Upon returning to the U.S., she served as the Co-Director of Franciscan Mission Service. She rejoined Maryknoll Lay Missioners in 2000 and has served in Brazil since that time. She worked for many years with victims of domestic violence and is a founding member of Association Fala Mulher, an organization that works to heal women who are victims of domestic violence and helps them to develop non-violent communication and life skills.
Currently Joanne lives in the mega-city of Sao Paulo and works at the Human Rights and Popular Education Center of Campo Limpo. Her primary ministry is in training educators and leaders of community and church groups in violence prevention and restorative justice practices in order to resolve interpersonal and group conflicts. Joanne and her teammates travel throughout Brazil to teach courses on anger management, forgiveness, non-violent communication, reconciliation, mediation of conflicts and restorative practices. The workshops and courses are given in the popular education-holistic model of Paulo Freire and are accompanied by on-going supervision so that participants become multipliers of the course.
- Trains teachers, pastoral and community leaders in mediation of conflicts, non-violent communication, forgiveness and restorative justice practices.
- Works to empower adults and adolescents to heal from urban, social and interpersonal violence.
- Uses a holistic approach with popular-education methodology to help individuals and groups learn ways to transform conflicts into a peace-building tool for individuals and communities.
- Partners with local and national groups to bring restorative justice practices as a model to resolve conflicts in communities and schools.
Joanne is committed to work to break the cycle of violence and vengeance that is so prevalent in our communities and our world. Statistics show that restorative justice helps restore relationships among those involved in a conflict. It also helps victims of violence heal more quickly and leads to much lower recidivism rates for offenders. Joanne is working in a pilot project to bring restorative justice as an alternative to the current penal system for juvenile offenders of serious crimes in São Paulo.
Joanne and two other colleagues presented their work on ESPERE - Conflict and Peacemaking at the International Congress of World Religions in Australia in 2009. She has also co-authored a book on the themes of Forgiveness, Reconciliation and Restorative Justice that is being used in working with children and adolescents in social-educational centers in São Paulo.