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Sister Joan Cordis Westhues, 91, Maryknoll Sister In Ossining

Sister Joan Cordis Westhues
Sister Joan Cordis Westhues Photo Credit: Contributed

OSSINING, N.Y. -- Sister Joan Cordis Westhues, MM, missionary educator and community health worker in the Philippines, Bangladesh and the Marshall Islands for more than 50 years, died Saturday, June 13, 2015, at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Ossining,

She was 91 and had been a Maryknoll Sister for 70 years.

Born  Jan. 30, 1924, in Jefferson City, Mo. to Henry John Westhues and Helen Margaret  Roer Westhues, Sister Joan Cordis was baptized Marjorie Ann Westhues, attended Immaculate Conception High School and graduated from St. Peter’s Interparish High School in Jefferson City in 1942. She entered Maryknoll at its motherhouse  Sept. 6, 1944, from Immaculate Conception Parish in Jefferson City and made her final vows  March 7, 1950, at the Maryknoll Sisters’ motherhouse. A 1965 graduate of the Asian Social Institute, Manila, Philippines, with an M.A. in socio-theological studies, she also had a B.S. in chemistry from Manhattanville College in Purchase.

Sister Joan Cordis was first assigned to the Philippines. Following a year working with the congregation’s retirement team in Valley Park, Mo., Sister Joan Cordis was involved in catechetical education for the Diocese of Jefferson City, then returned to the Philippines in 1972. In 1993, she was called to Bangladesh, and returned from Bangladesh to the Maryknoll Sisters Center in 2013.

Sister Joan Cordis is survived by three of her sisters: Jane Schmidt of Phoenix, Marilyn Evans of St. Louis and Elaine Westhues of Mesa, Ariz. Her sister Rosemary, Bebe and brother Msgr. John Westhues predeceased her.

A vespers service was conducted June 14 at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Ossining.  A Mass of Christian Burial followed  June 15, also at the center. Interment was in the Maryknoll Sisters Cemetery on the center grounds.

Dorsey Funeral Home in Ossining handled the funeral arrangements.

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