Dorothy Ann Furey was born on February 8, 1925 in Toledo, Ohio, the oldest of Teresa Tillman and Edmond Francis Furey’s four children. Although Dorothy grew up in Toledo, most of her summers were spent in near Houghton Lake in Michigan swimming, boating, horseback riding and frog catching.
In 1930 Dorothy was enrolled in Our Lady of Perpetual Help School. Her parents, however, felt she needed a more challenging curriculum and transferred her to Notre Dame Academy on Bancroft in Toledo in 1937. Sister’s years at NDA and later at Notre Dame College, Cleveland, were filled with activities. She participated in sports, dancing, and, in college, she worked in her aunt’s bookstore and ushered for the Cleveland Opera. Sister Mary Josanne graduated Cum Laude from Notre Dame College in June 1945 and entered the Sisters of Notre Dame on Ansel Road the following September.
At first, Sister Mary Josanne ministered in secondary education in the Cleveland area. In 1960 Sister was transferred to California where she taught at Notre Dame Academy inLos Angeles (1960-1966, 1983-1984), La Reina High School in Thousand Oaks (1966-1983), and St. Bonaventure High School in Ventura (1984-2006). As principal at La Reina Sister Mary Josanne initiated the addition of the seventh and eighth grades.
Mathematics was among Sister Mary Josanne’s first loves. At La Reina Sister started her own mathematics competition for 7th and 8th graders. When she transferred to Saint Bonaventure, she initiated the competition there as well. The following year, the Mathematical Association of America invited her to join a team of 15 mathematicians who gathered once a year to formulate original math problems for 25-question, timed tests for the American Mathematics Competition.
“The problems weren’t simple,” Sister Mary Josanne said, “I had to create the circumstances to make them difficult.”
Another of Sister Mary Josanne’s loves was the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame – an affinity she had acquired in childhood. During football season the children at Our Lady of Perpetual Help sang the Victory March and listened to a recording of Knute Rockne’s famous speech each morning before class and were rewarded with a candy bar every time the team won.
Sister Mary Josanne described herself as “a community person.” As she herself admitted: “By nature I am not a solitary soul…I don’t have a problem making friends.” Sister attended the Congregation’s Centennial celebration in Cleveland (1950) and its Sesquicentennial in California (2000). She also participated in the 1974 General Chapter as and visited both in Toledo and Florida. All were occasions for her to renew important relationships with her family and friends, especially with the sisters in her entrance group with whom she remained very close throughout her religious life.
In 2007 Sister Mary Josanne joined the community at Notre Dame Center where she remained active- helping in the finance and development offices and working jig-saw puzzles, enjoying a good mystery, and cheering for St. Bonaventure’s football team. Sister quietly and peacefully went home to God on Friday, January 29, 2016, just two weeks before her 91st birthday.
Those who wish to pay their respects to Sister Mary Josanne Furey are invited to a wake and liturgy on Tuesday, February 9, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. The service will take place at Notre Dame Center in Thousand Oaks, California. It will be officiated by Reverend Joseph Shea, Pastor of Saint Rose of Lima Church. Sister will be interred at Assumption Cemetery in Simi Valley, California, on Wednesday, February 10 at 9:30 a.m.