Sister Joan Mahony; Nun, Retired Principal

Sister Joan Mahony, retired principal of St. Didacus Elementary School in Sylmar, died Tuesday of cancer in Mission Hills. She was 80.

She served as principal of the school from 1977 until the mid-1980s and belonged to the Roman Catholic order of Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace for 60 years, said Sister Elizabeth Sheehy, a longtime friend.

Born Aug. 23, 1909, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Sister Joan lived in Canada and Washington state before she moved to the St. Didacus Convent in Sylmar to become principal. Upon retirement, she began teaching English to poor immigrants at a Pacoima-based nonprofit organization called Meet Each Need With Dignity. Every Sunday morning, she visited inmates at the Sylmar Juvenile Hall and accompanied them to Mass, Sister Elizabeth said.

Sister Joan is survived by brothers Pat Mahony, Vic Mahony and Austin Mahony; two nieces and a nephew, all of Vancouver.


A Mass is scheduled to be celebrated at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at St. Didacus Catholic Church, 14339 Astoria St., Sylmar, with visitation to follow. A graveside service is set for 10 a.m. Friday at San Fernando Mission Cemetery, 11160 Stranwood Ave., Mission Hills. Callanan Mortuary in Los Angeles is handling the arrangements. Donations can be made in Sister Joan’s name to MEND or a charity of the donor’s choice.