Sister Joan Carusillo, CSC, was honored for her more than 60 years of service as a Sister of the Holy Cross during the annual Women’s Circle Gala March 24 in Boynton Beach, Florida. Women’s Circle provides educational, career and personal development assistance to local women, with the mission of empowering them “to realize their full potential … and to gain financial stability.” At the fundraising event, which included dinner, dancing, and silent and live auctions, nearly 200 guests gathered to pay tribute to Sister Joan —who will be retiring to Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame, Indiana, in July.
Julen Blankenship, executive director of the Women’s Circle, focused on Sister Joan’s most recent ministry: “Please join me in honoring Co-Founder Sister Joan Carusillo for 19 years of compassionate service for the women of Palm Beach County. She will be greatly missed.”
Among those present for the celebration were Sister Joan’s family, including several cousins, the Women’s Circle family, and friends from local parishes. After a lively introduction by her sister, Fran Haley, Sister Joan expressed her profound gratitude to God for her years of service and deeply thanked those whose support and inspiration helped to make her 28 years of ministry in Florida a labor of love. She added, “I am especially grateful to Sister Lorraine Ryan, MMS, for the invitation to join her in founding the Women’s Circle in 2000, enabling me to realize my life-long dream of direct service to the disadvantaged.”
After her remarks, a representative of the Council of Catholic Women of St. Joan of Arc parish, Boca Raton, Florida, presented Sister Joan with a bouquet of flowers and gift card. During the event, a generous benefactor also donated $25,000 to Women’s Circle in her honor.
Before moving to Florida in 1991 to care for her aging parents, Sister Joan had served as a secondary school teacher, principal, regional superior, hospital vice president for Mission Services, and chaplain. She was co-director of the Women’s Circle from 2000 to 2011, and served on the governing board and on various committees until 2019.