Sister Joyce Lowrey, SSJ, 81, formerly Sister Virginia, of the Sisters of
St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania died on December 7, 2020. Sister Joyce was born on February 18, 1939, in Meadville, Pennsylvania, the daughter of the late John and Virginia Anderhalt Lowrey.
She graduated from Penn Hills Jr./Sr. High School, Pittsburgh, PA, in 1956, and entered the Sisters of St. Joseph from St. Bartholomew Parish, Pittsburgh, PA, on September 8, 1964. She professed her final vows on August 26, 1972, and the following year, 1973, she graduated from Villa Maria College, Erie, with a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education. She continued her education at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA, where she earned a Master of Science degree in special education in 1978. Throughout her ministry career, she took additional graduate courses at Gannon University, Erie, PA.
Sister Joyce taught at St. Andrew and Blessed Sacrament Elementary Schools in Erie and at Notre Dame School in Hermitage, PA, where she initiated and directed a program for children with learning disabilities. She later returned to Erie, where she directed the Perceptual Development Center for learning disabled students at Villa Maria College. In addition, she taught learning disabled students at Villa Maria Elementary School and served on the faculty at both Villa Maria College and Gannon University. Sister Joyce received many awards to recognize her service to students with learning disabilities throughout her ministry career.
Sister Joyce was committed to the mission of L’Arche. L’Arche is an international organization that serves adults with and without intellectual disabilities by assisting them in sharing life and friendships in community. She often spoke of how the core members at L’Arche Erie taught her about reconciliation, how to love and serve others every day, and how they deepened her commitment to being open to all without distinction.
Sister Joyce served her congregation in various capacities, including its Leadership Council from 1995-1999 and later as secretary on the Leadership Team from 2007–2011.
In addition to her parents, Sister Joyce was preceded in death by a brother, Jack Lowrey, and a sister, Charlene Lowrey. She is survived by one sister, Terri Bistarky of Pittsburgh, and a sister-in-law, Jean Lowrey, of Saxonburg, PA, and several nieces and nephews. She is also survived by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, there will be no calling hours. A Mass of Christian Burial will be live-streamed on Thursday, December 10, 2020, at 4:30 p.m. on the Sisters of St. Joseph Facebook page and the SSJ Erie YouTube channel. Interment will be at Calvary Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania, 5031 West Ridge Road, Erie, PA, 16506-1249, or online at www.ssjerie.org. The Quinn Funeral Home, 9th & Liberty Streets, Erie, is handling arrangements.