Sister Joanne De Vincenti’s warmth and ability to easily connect with people endeared her to many over the years. She was known as a fun-loving companion, gracious hostess and excellent cook in the Italian tradition.
She first came to know the Sisters of Mercy while a student at St. Joseph’s Hospital School of Nursing in Phoenix, Arizona, and entered the community in 1945 when she followed the invitation to “come and see.”
Her leadership skills were recognized early. Sister Joanne earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of San Francisco in 1960 and a master’s degree in hospital administration from St. Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1963.
Following her residency at Providence Hospital in Seattle, Washington, she transitioned to St. Mary’s Hospital in San Francisco, California, ministering one year as an assistant administrator and 12 years as administrator. During this time, she led the merger of St. Mary’s Hospital with Notre Dame Hospital; directed the building of the current hospital; and advocated on a local and state level to ensure that the facility would provide the best of care to San Franciscans. Next, she served as president and chief executive officer for Mercy Hospital in San Diego, California, for eight years and led a major building project which improved diagnostic capabilities for the people of San Diego. Sister Joanne worked tirelessly to ensure that patients received excellent care and that employees and physicians received the support necessary to provide that care. In 1973 she was the first woman to be elected president of the Hospital Council of Northern California. In her later years, Sister Joanne spent many years leading fundraising efforts for both St. Mary’s and Mercy Hospitals.