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Sr. Joanna Burley elected prioress of Benedictine Sisters

sq joanna burleySister Joanna Burley was elected prioress of the Benedictine Sisters of Virginia in Bristow April 6, succeeding Sister Cecilia Dwyer, who was prioress 1987-1999 and from 2003 to the present. Sister Joanna, who is the director of mission integration and communication for the sisters, will begin her four-year term as prioress at her installation ceremony June 22.

“As we end our 150th jubilee year with the election of our next prioress, we look forward with hope to building our community and our monastic presence in the local area,” said Sister Cecilia. “Our election process was peaceful and Spirit-filled, and brings us new energy for the future.”

“I am simply overwhelmed at the love and trust the sisters have given me,” said Sister Joanna. “St. Benedict modeled his description of the leader of a monastic community after the image of Jesus given us in the Gospels. So, the prioress must reflect Jesus as shepherd, teacher, healer and steward for the community. Only with the grace of God and the support of my community will I be able to serve.”

Sister Joanna will be in charge of the monastic community of 30 sisters, which has been in Virginia since 1868. 

Originally from Daytona Beach, Fla., she holds a bachelor’s in English from Dominican College in Orangeburg, N.Y.; a master’s in education from Marymount University in Arlington; and a master’s in theology from St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minn. 


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019