Sr. Johanna (Elizabeth) D'Agostino
January 4, 1931 – July 12, 2020
Elizabeth Joan D’Agostino (Sr. Johanna) died peacefully on July 12, 2020, at Presentation Manor, following a brief illness. She was born in Toronto on January 4, 1931. Predeceased by her parents Rocco D’Agostino and Anna Perrone, her brothers Peter D’Agostino, (Pauline), Rocco D’Agostino, she is survived by her loving nieces Elizabeth Likwornik, (Victor), Ann Marie Brignuglio and numerous devoted cousins.
Sr. Johanna attended St Anthony elementary School in Toronto. After graduating from Loretto College High School, she entered the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Her professional background is in teaching, with experience in both the elementary and secondary levels, in Toronto, Niagara Falls and Hamilton. In addition to her role as teacher and later principal, she was the author of several text books on primary education, was a Primary Consultant with several School Boards in Ontario, and a Professor in Teacher Education at Brock University. As a Team Member of the Ontario Teachers’ Federation, she developed and launched Junior Kindergarten across Ontario in the 1970’s. Sr. Johanna was awarded the Margaret Lynch Fellowship from the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association in 1982-1983.
Her civic involvement includes association with Development and Peace, the Canadian Red Cross, and the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Justice and Peace concerns.
After an early retirement from teaching she was appointed Dean of Loretto College, Toronto, and following that assignment, Chaplain at the University of Toronto, St. Michael’s College. During that period, she also assumed leadership positions on various committees in collaboration with other Colleges on campus and with the Canadian National Chaplain Association.
From Campus ministry, she joined the staff at Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Toronto which enabled her to visit and to focus on parish workshops to promote Parish Social Ministry.
Besides her professional ministry, Sr Johanna held the position of Superior at several large convents in her religious community. In 1995, Sr. Johanna was elected to the General Leadership of her Institute and at the General Chapter in 1999 she was elected Vicar General.
In 2004 she became Pastoral Assistant at Blessed Sacrament Parish as well was involved in pastoral visiting at the Mustard Seed, a ministry sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph, Toronto. In November 2019, she moved to Presentation Manor.
It is with deep sorrow that the Loretto Community announces her passing.
A private Funeral Mass will be held at Presentation Manor on Friday, July 17 at 10.00 A.M. interment to follow in Mount Hope Cemetery.
A memorial Mass will be held at a later date . In Lieu of flowers, Donations can be made to Loretto Maryholme Spirituality Centre which is operated by the Loretto Sisters.
Sr. Johanna (Elizabeth) D'Agostino
Stella Partheniou Grasso
November 15, 2020
I learned to read with Mr. Mugs. Thank you to Mrs. D'Agostino for creating those book. You were a big part of my childhood without ever knowing it.
November 13, 2020
Warm memories and deepest condolences on hearing of Sister Johanna's passing. I was one of many she taught @ St. Joseph's Elementary in Niagara Falls. I never forgot her, and the foundation from whence my love of reading developed some 55+ years ago. Riposa in pace for all of the lives you yourself have touched.
August 4, 2020
Sister Johanna was my Grade 1 teacher at Our Lady of Perpetual Help School in Toronto (1958/ 1959).
She was a very kind, happy and gentle person - she was my favourite teacher!!
I met her at our school reunion in 2008 and it was so exciting to chat with her after all those years. I'm so glad that I was able to share special memories with her.
May she rest in peace.
July 19, 2020
I have so many fond memories of Betty. She was my late mother's (Carmela Rey nee Parro) first cousin. I always respected her and was so proud of all her accomplishments. I was a former student of Loretto Brunswick School.
I would like to be informed of her memorial.
Elviana (Di Filippo) Candeloro
July 18, 2020
Dear D'Agostino family:
I was saddened to hear about the passing of Sr. Johanna (Elizabeth). Please accept my heartfelt sympathy during your time of grief. I was a teaching colleague of Sr. Johanna when we worked for the Catholic School Board in Niagara Falls. I met her when I was a first year primary teacher and over the years, I had many occasions to interact with Sr. Johanna in her various board positions.
I remember her to be an intelligent, considerate, gentle- hearted and knowledgeable educator.
Elviana ( ELvi) Candeloro
July 17, 2020
Sister Johanna, you left me so many memories with Angie, you are together again in Heaven. From dinners to visiting your family in King City. Today I held a Memorial at Mount Carmel with Father Chris, he also remembered you. God bless your family and many many condolences
Lee Anne Genge
July 17, 2020
Sister Johanna (Auntie Betty) has always held a very special place in my heart. From visiting her and Sister Sheila at Loretto Abbey as a child with my grandmother on numerous occassions, to her presence at my Confirmation ceremony, the countless Bell Sisters picnics that she held for our family at the Loretto Maryholme, her visit to the University of Windsor while I was a student, and finally her attendance at my wedding in Las Vegas in 2018. Her kindness and gentle spirit will be greatly missed in this world. My only hope is that she has joined the other strong women in our family in a beautiful eternal afterlife.
Msgr. Pat O'Dea
July 16, 2020
I was blessed to have known Sr. Johanna for a number of years, having first met her on a committee for the Archdiocese. I admired her welcoming spirit, her good humour, and her wise judgement and leadership. In recent years, she was in ministry at Blessed Sacrament Church, not far from my parish of St. Edward's and we saw each other on many occasions. She served the Lord with great love and devotion through her wonderful community of the Loretto Sisters. My condolences to her family and religious community. May she now enjoy her richly deserved eternal life to which she is now called to. It was a pleasure to have known her in this life.
July 16, 2020
I had a business relationship with the IBVM for more than 30 years. I was always intrigued by the unique culture Mary Ward instilled in the IBVM....and for me Sr. Johanna exemplified that deeply devoted yet Iconoclastic essence. She was a woman of great capacity for grace and care yet also aware of the need to continue to evolve with society. I learned a great deal about compassion, honesty and perspective in my many conversations with Sr Johanna .... I will miss her....and.... remember her fondly. My sincere condolences to the family.
July 16, 2020
Sr. Johanna taught me to read! I can't remember if I was in the robin reading group or in the bluebirds - probably the crows! It was grade 2 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help school in Toronto. The principal at the time was Mother Phillip Neri. Both members of the Loretto community were in full habit. Visible was Sr. Johanna's kind face.
Years later, when I was studying theology, I made the acquaintance of a woman with a very kind face, as we sat together taking the same course. Her name was Sr. Johanna. It never crossed my mind - until a few months later - this is the woman who taught me to read! A simple cross had replaced the full habit. When I shared my revelation she laughed - then she swore me to secret!
Our paths crossed many times since then but I will always remember Johanna's kind face [and the fact that she taught me to read!]
Jo-Ann & John Spadacini
July 15, 2020
RIP Sister Johanna (cousin Betty) your presence and wisdom will be greatly missed by the family. Sister Johanna was always willing to help when called upon and I will always remember fumbling on the phone when our call came to an end and she would say ,,"God Bless".. do I say you too? or Bye? for now I will say GOD BLESS ,
Love Jo-Ann & John
July 15, 2020
I am very sad to hear about the passing of Sister Johanna. She was
very close to my sister (Angie Vaccaro expired 2 years ago ) when she was the principal at St. Ann's School in Niagara Falls. Sister Johanna spent many family celebrations with us. We had many dinners together at our family restaurant.
Sister was a true inspiration to us all and touched all of our lives. "Sister Johanna you are a very special person with so many special qualities" I am sure by now she is organizing and restructuring heaven. May she rest in peace.