Sr. Joan Chisala has been awarded a six-month fellowship to work as part of a research team at the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
Through a grant awarded by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, CARA’s primary focus is to help three sister scholars acquire applied research skills in the apostolate over a six-month fellowship. The grant also supports the development and implementation of at least one research project in the home country each sister scholar.
Sr. Joan Chisala belongs to the international congregation of the Sisters of St. John the Baptist (CSJB) and is from Zambia, Central Africa. She celebrated her Silver Jubilee in 2015 and this is her 28th year of her daily Yes to the will of God. Sr. Joan subscribes to the quote, "Whatever God sends, is good and Holy.” This is the saying of CSJB’s Founding Father St. Alfonso Maria Fusco, who was recently proclaimed a Saint by His Holiness Pope Francis.
Sr. Joan is a qualified primary school teacher who, with the help of her congregation, obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Primary Teaching at the University of Zambia. She has over 22 years experience in teaching both in government and convent schools. She has had a lot of experience in promoting and evangelizing to various souls in education.
Sr. Joan has served as Head Teacher of several of her congregation’s schools. Currently, she is Principal of a boarding school for girls (with an inclusion of boys as Day Scholars). Sr. Joan is a beneficiary of Conrad Hilton Foundation funds for “Strengthening the Capacity of Women Religious in Early Childhood Development” (SCORE ECD). For three years she developed her skills and is now a SCORE ECD Master Trainer, training other sisters and stakeholders in Zambia in early childhood development practices.
Sr. Joan arrived at CARA on July 1, 2018 to begin her research activities, where she’ll be performing research until December, 2018. While at CARA, Sr. Joan will conduct a survey on one of the parishes in her home country Zambia and will then compile questions and come up with a report which will be sent back to the parish. Sr. Joan also intends to carry out a survey on the relevance of the Catholic Church today in Zambia after the celebration of 125 years of faith.
Her prayer and wish is to be well equipped with necessary skills in research to affect her work. She looks forward to having a productive time at CARA and remains hopeful that the knowledge she acquires at CARA will go a long way in improving the lives of the many people the sisters serve, especially the religious and the Catholic Church at large.
Sr. Joan is grateful to God, her congregation, CARA’s research team under the leadership of Rev. Fr. Tom Gaunt, Sr. Angelina Kabwe (ASEC Country Director, Zambia). She’s also grateful for the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation for funding this wonderful program and the many other programs they support to increase the capacity of Women Religious in Africa.
Sr. Joan is the third research fellowship recipient, preceded by African sister scholars Sr. Bibiana M. Ngundo, LSOSF, Ph.D., Kenya and Sr. Florence Emurayeveya, EHJ, M.Ed., Nigeria. ASEC is currently in the process of scheduling a week-long visit with Sr. Joan in our Scranton, PA office.
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In 2015-2016, ASEC entered into an agreement with Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University to bring African sisters to the U.S. for a Visiting Scholar Fellowship. CARA is a national, nonprofit research center that conducts social scientific studies about the Catholic Church. The chosen sister will work and study with CARA to advance their research skills. ASEC is partnered with CARA to recruitment the sister scholars and engage them in research opportunities, including over one week at its Scranton, PA, office.