“Stimulated by the Holy Spirit of love and receptive to His inspirations, the Sister of Saint Joseph moves always toward profound love of God and love of neighbor without distinction…” From the Consensus Statement of the Sisters of St. Joseph
Sister Ann Stephanie Stano, SSJ, always has had a great love of education—as a student, a teacher, a mentor, administrator, and in a variety of other roles—since entering the Sisters of St. Joseph in 1957.
Born in Erie, a daughter of the late Stephen and Irene (Fornalczyk) Stano, she attended Villa Maria Elementary, Villa Maria Academy, and Villa Maria College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.
Later, she received her master’s in secondary education from Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich., and her doctorate in social science from the University of Chicago.
She taught at the following schools in the Diocese of Erie: St. Andrew, Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady’s Christian, all in Erie; St. Agatha High School, Meadville; and Villa Maria Academy in Erie.
Sister Ann Stephanie taught at the post-secondary level at Villa Maria College and Gannon University, both in Erie. She also served as director of curriculum for Erie diocesan schools and as dean of the School of Education at Gannon University.
She was education administrator at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, and later served as a graduate medical education faculty member of the Saint Vincent Family Medicine Residency Program in Erie. She currently ministers as an educational consultant. “My years at Villa Maria Academy were my favorite and most memorable times in my personal growth. To me, the Sisters of St. Joseph were my teachers, my role models and my friends,” she says. “What I observed was a group of self-actualized women who lived their ordinary daily lives in an extraordinary way. They reflected joy and faithfulness and passed on a special something to young women in their formative years.”
Sister Ann Stephanie initially ignored her call to religious life. But not long after graduating from Villa Maria Academy, she experienced what she calls a “powerful call that I could no longer dismiss.” “Just as we have a physical DNA, I believe we also have a spiritual DNA,” she adds. “This gives each one of us our spiritual identity and function, which can be described as our life mission. For me, the energy to continue the mission is derived from all forms of prayer, especially meditation and reception of the Eucharist.”