Beloved Joanne Petronella


Joanne ministering in Capernaum

On Tuesday, October 17th, my dear friend and mentor Joanne Petronella passed away peacefully.


Joanne founded our lay ministry, Christ In You The Hope of Glory International Ministries. She was Catholic to the core but ministered to Protestants as well. Her ecumenical calling opened many doors to other countries. I am her fruit and because of her teachings and life experience my journey continues. I would like to share some stories about this powerful woman of God.


On the bridge at the Demilitarized Zone: Pastor Kim and his wife, Joanne, me, Gina and a group of the Korean team

South Korea

A few weeks ago there was a report of a young army private crossing the Demilitarized Zone into North Korea. As I watched the news unfold, I thought to myself, “I’ve been there!” I remember the turquoise-colored buildings like it was yesterday.

How did I ever end up at the Demilitarized Zone? Well, I can thank  Joanne for that adventure. We were a small group invited to minister in South Korea: Joanne, Gina and me. This trip was in the mid 2000’s. Meetings were scheduled with large groups of pastors throughout our stay. These meetings lingered for hours, but this was when Joanne was at her best. She encouraged these pastors to fulfill their calling in South Korea with many receiving private prayer.

As much as the world was tugging at me to see some sights while in Korea,  it was never to be. We were there on a mission and both Gina and I understood our roles; we were to come alongside Joanne in prayer.

On the one day that we did have downtime, Joanne asked if our host, Pastor Kim, could drive us to the DMZ to pray for peace between these two countries. I remember traveling through some farmlands and through mountains to reach the DMZ,  which was 35 miles from Seoul. At this time of her life Joanne was restricted to a wheelchair, but that never stopped her from ministering.

I was wide-eyed and tried to capture every sight, remembering to register the memory and place it in the porticos of my mind.

Joanne had the gift of prophecy and generously bestowed this gift on every person who came to her for prayer. I remember Gina and I had to write the names of the people who needed prayer. This list was extensive and the people could not get enough of what Joanne had to offer. Sometimes we would not get back to the hotel until midnight. Much fruit was poured out on their behalf.

Yes, this mighty woman of God captured the hearts of many South Koreans, and it was a pleasure being part of this missionary trip.


Nepal/Tibet Border

Have I seen the tallest mountain in the world? Yes, I have. Mount Everest’s peaks can be seen through the meandering roads going up to the Tibet Border.

Our Nepal transportation on the way to the presidents palace
The presidents palace
Joanne praying with Ruth, Brian and their son Samir, Nepal
Nepali pastors gathering
Me, Joanne, Linda and Patrice separating the medicine

Before visiting Tibet, we were ministering in Nepal. This is where I met Pastor Brian and his beautiful wife Ruth, who were hosting our visit. This trip was a battery of one meeting after another. Joanne had purchased over 100 red duffel bags to be  filled with medicine to be handed out to the pastors from Nepal and the Tibet Border. Oh, how I remember asking friends and family members to donate medicines for us to take to Nepal and the Tibet Border. Joanne was strict about this, making sure we each had a large suitcase filled with medical supplies.

The President’s Palace

Did we get to meet the president of Nepal? No, not this time.  But we did have a meeting with the Secretary of State at the residence of the President of Nepal. We were traveling in a white passenger van with our team of about eight, plus Brian and Ruth. We received a warm welcome and were ushered into a meeting room upstairs. Though we did have a scheduled meeting with the president of Nepal, he was called to an urgent matter.

Hebrew Teaching and Traditions

As a team we understood many of the Jewish customs. Once a year around Passover we would reenact a traditional Seder Dinner. Everything had to be perfect or else someone was going to receive the wrath of Joanne. I remember the hardboiled-eggs, dipping the bitter herbs into salt water, and the lamb shank bone that represented the Paschal sacrificial offering. The diced apples with raisins dusted with cinnamon, represented the bricks that the Egyptians forced the Israelites to make while in slavery. Joanne went to great lengths to teach us this rich lesson on the Jewish Passover.


Sailing through the Sea of Galilee: Pat, Natalie, me, Joanne, Patrice, Carol, Cathryn Back roll: Dov (our guide) Victor, Jim and Robert


Me with the Missionaries of Charity in Gaza
Our team in the Old City Jerusalem


Not too many Americans  can say that they have been to Gaza. I have been there. We were there to minister to the Missionaries of Charity (Saint Teresa of Calcutta’s organization). Joanne ministered to Palestinian Christians and to Mother Teresa’s Sisters of Missionaries of Charity.

I love to walk, so the following morning Millie, a team member, and I decided to take a stroll down the beach on the Gaza strip. Suddenly a hotel worker came running out and yelling, “Do you want to get shot to death? You can’t walk on the beach here!”  Millie and I quickly made our way back to the hotel.


Robert, me, Linda Costa and Joanne at Costa’s Bethlehem store


Bethlehem is located on the West Bank. In all our  years of traveling to the Holy Land, Bethlehem was always part of the trip.

One year we were scheduled to perform a play in Bethlehem. Even though only 2%  Palestinians are Christians, we were going to share the love of Christ.

With only a few hours of rehearsal, none of us knew our lines, let alone when to get on stage. As a group we went up to Joanne and asked if she could give us better direction. She yelled, “At the last minute you want help! Sorry, too late!” We looked at each other and laughed. Even though we did not know our lines, the show must go on! So we did our best to perform a play in English to an Arabic- speaking group.


Joanne, Linda, Ligette, me and Pat in Croatia
Christ In You team and some of the Croatian team


We were invited by Christofori, a powerful group of Catholics in Croatia. I will never forget the beautiful welcome we received from our Croatian family. They are deep-rooted in the Doctrine of the Catholic Church whereas we  love our Catholic roots. These days were filled with traveling to different cities in Croatia as Joanne ministered to them. We, as a team, prayed for so many individuals. I will return to this country soon!


Our team in France

Paris, France

Joanne transferred the responsibility of planning a Marian journey to me. We were to visit the sights in Europe where Our Blessed Mother Mary had appeared. Although I thought I was an experienced world traveler, on the second day of the trip I was the victim of a pickpocket on the metro train in Paris. My wallet with all my Euros, American money and credit cards were gone!

Joanne had given us a stern warning not to travel by that means. I was the ring leader of that rebellion and a group of us, including Father Leonard decided to save a lot of money by using the metro. At dinner I had to come clean.  Joanne raked me over the coals for not heeding her godly advice. This rebuke lasted until dessert. Yet the worse part of this terrible situation was that I had to phone home to tell my husband Mike about the incident.

Saying Goodbye

I praise God that He allowed me to visit Joanne while she was in her frail state. I reminded her of some of these stories and she laughed and asked me to tell her more. Sometimes we don’t always get along with those we love, and Joanne and I had some of those days. In spite of this I can share that she showed me the world through the eyes of Jesus. I will miss her sarcastic sense of  humor and her beautiful, loud laughter. but mostly her kind, motherly advice.

On one of my last visits she said, “Lynda, I love you very much and I want you to know that I lived a very happy and fulfilled life.”

My Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You for all that Joanne has accomplished in her lifetime. All the souls that she redirected, all the leaders that she brought from the ashes. Every one of us who sat under her teachings is richer in the love of Christ. May my precious friend rest in Your loving arms. Amen.


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