Hospital Sisters of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis

Sister Joan Winkler

✝ Sunday, February 14th 2021

"Give, and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you." (Luke 6:38)

When the whole world was celebrating Valentine's Day with their loved ones and expressing their love by sending affectionate messages, gifts, cards, and spending quality time together to honor their love and commitment, the best lover of Sister Joan Winkler came and took her along to Heaven on Sunday, February 14, 2021, at 11:59 a.m.

Sister Joan was born in Breese, IL, on September 25, 1934, the daughter of Raymond and Anna Margaret Cope Winkler. She entered the Congregation on February 2, 1951, and professed her religious vows on October 4, 1953.

Sister Joan received a Bachelor of Science degree in dietetics from Fontbonne College, St. Louis, MO, in 1957, a master's degree in health services administration from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, in 1976, and a master's degree in pastoral studies from Loyola University, Chicago, IL, in 1988.

Sister Joan lived her life with an adventurous nature. Sister was drawn to theology and read many theology books. She reached out to others based on her deep experience and close relationship with God. All those who have had close contact with Sister Joan will agree that she had been a great influence for them being raised up to be the best they could be. Sister Joan also made sure that others could have the inspiring hope that God is always present in their lives. Certainly, she has been an instrument in reducing another's burden.

Sister Joan also had a mischievous side in her life. Growing up, Sister Joan was known as a ‘tomboy’.


Sister Joan began her career as a dietitian at HSHS hospitals in Illinois. She also served as Assistant Novice Directress at St. Francis Convent and was the Director of the Dietary Department, Assistant Administrator, and Administrator at HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital,

Eau Claire, WI, from 1966—76. Sister Joan served as the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Catholic Hospital Association, Madison, WI, from 1976-1986. While she was a student at Loyola University, she ministered at Alverna Home Nursing Center in Chicago, IL. In 1989, she returned to Springfield and served as the Program Director of the Franciscan Apostolic Center until 1992. From 1993—95, Sister Joan served as the Manager of the Manressa House, Florissant, MO. In 1995, Sister Joan was elected as a Provincial Councilor and was elected as the Provincial Superior in 1999; she served in this role until 2007. Sister Joan was a volunteer at HSHS St. John's Hospital from 2008—14. 

Gerry and Jeanne Haar were longtime friends of Sister Joan. They said, "Meekness and humility were her virtues. Love for us as our spiritual mother were our blessings. She is the rarest of blessings who came into the center of our hearts over sixty years ago as one of the fewest of friends who touched us so deeply. She called us her 'kiddos."' 

She was preceded in death by her parents, two brothers, John and David Winkler, and two sisters, Mary M. Shepard and our Sister Fran Winkler, O.S.F.

She is survived by a sister, Ruth Schmitt, of Sherman, IL; a sister-in-law, Elizabeth Winkler, Great Britain, several nieces and nephews, great nieces and great nephews. We offer Sister Joan's family and friends our sincere condolences and the prayerful support of the Christian community.

Private burial services, including the Mass of Christian Burial, will be held on Thursday, February 18, 2021. Burial will follow in Crucifixion Hill Cemetery. A memorial Mass will be celebrated at a later date.

As expressed in the opening scripture, Sister Joan gave a good measure, packed down, and overflowing through her life and ministries. May she now enjoy her reward in Heaven in its fullness!