Sister Joan Duerst, OP celebrates jubilee

By Eileen Dushek-Manthe
SINSINAWA, Wis. – Sister Joan Duerst, OP, will celebrate her 60th jubilee in 2024. A Mass will be held in October for her and 10 other Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters celebrating 60 years. Her religious name was Sister Marie Herve’.

Sister Joan’s home parish is St. Patrick, Madison, in the Diocese of Madison. She is the daughter of the late Hervey and Catherine “Kay” (Skibba) Duerst. Sister Joan’s ministry has been dedicated to social justice, especially criminal justice reform.

In the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, Sister Joan taught at Dominican High School, Whitefish Bay, 1968-1972.

In the Archdiocese of Omaha, Sister Joan taught at Dominican High School, Omaha, 1972-1979.

In the Diocese of Tulsa, Sister Joan served as neighborhood organizer at Immaculate Conception Parish, Tulsa, 1979-1982; founder and director of Osage Hills Apartment ministry, Tulsa, 1982-1987; coordinator for peace and justice at Christ the King Parish, Tulsa, 1993-1998; and founder and community organizer for North Tulsa Neighborhood Alliance, Tulsa, 1993-1998, facilitating 12 neighborhood associations to build strong organizations in a neglected area of the city. She taught at Bishop Kelley, Tulsa, 1987-1993, and served the Sinsinawa Dominican Congregation as provincial councilor for the Southern Province while living in Tulsa, 1998-2003.

In the Diocese of Jackson, Sister Joan ministered as director of high school religious education and social concerns coordinator at St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Madison, 2004-2008.

In the Diocese of Madison, Sister Joan ministered as volunteer coordinator at South Madison Coalition of the Elderly (now New Bridge), Madison, 2008-2014, and served with the multigenerational faith formation team and directed the first reconciliation and First Communion program at St. Albert the Great Parish, Sun Prairie, 2009-2011. She is a member of MOSES (Madison Organizing in Strength, Equity, and Solidarity), where she is a religious leader, and has served on the antiracism transformation team of the Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa since 1999.

She has also ministered in Illinois and Trinidad and Tobago.

Sister Joan is living in community with her Dominican Sisters.

If you would like to honor Sister Joan on her jubilee, go to the Sinsinawa Dominicans’ website at