Sister Joachim was born Mary Brigid McGuinness in Glebe, Ardee, Co. Louth in 1923. Known as Maureen within her family, she attended primary school in Ardee. She then trained in domestic science in the technical school in Ardee and in domestic economy at the St. Louis Sisters in Monaghan.
Joachim joined MMM in 1944. She was seriously ill as a novice and made her first profession of vows on what was presumed to be her deathbed. Happily she made a remarkable recovery and lived almost to the age of ninety-six years.
After profession, when MMM was only ten years old, she was first assigned to the guest department in Drogheda, where she worked for thirteen years. This was a busy area of the house and she received guests from all walks of life. She also got to know Mother Mary very well. In 1963 she went to our house of studies, Rosemount, in Dublin, as Sister-in-charge for three years. In 1966 she returned to Drogheda, where she served for five more years in the guest department.
In 1971 she was assigned to Chicago, USA, where she did fund raising. This included helping to organize dinner dances, fashion shows and mission awareness work. Joachim moved to our house in Winchester, MA, in 1976 and spent eight years there on mission awareness work, fund raising and helping with hospitality. She was then assigned to Somerville, MA, where she coordinated mission awareness for the east coast of the USA and did local pastoral work.
Joachim enjoyed her time in the USA and travelled all over the country. With her mission awareness work she got to know many of the pastors (parish priests) and was very kind to those who were ill or elderly.
In 2000 Sr. Joachim returned to Ireland. In our Motherhouse she remained active, helping in the stamp department. She also re-connected with her family. She was Auntie Maureen to her many nieces and nephews and their children. By 2010 she required nursing care and transferred to Áras Mhuire. She became ill suddenly on 19 June 2019 and was admitted to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital. She died there peacefully on 20 June.
Joachim was a happy and cheerful woman. She was known for her wit and for constantly asking, ‘What’s next?’ She enjoyed music and singing and loved to play the violin. The Áras Mhuire staff said that she lit up her surroundings with her jovial chat and hearty laughter. Her brief illness and sudden death were a shock. Shortly before she died she quietly whispered, ‘What’s next?’ not realizing that God was about to take her home.
Fr. Tommy Hogan, CSsR, hospital chaplain, was the main celebrant of her funeral Mass, assisted by Fr. Pat Kelly, SPS, chaplain of Áras Mhuire. Her large extended family participated actively and many neighbours and MMMs from the smaller communities were present. Just before Mass, before the coffin was closed, a number of carers from Áras Mhuire surrounded it, speaking to Joachim, thanking her and bidding her good-bye. As the coffin left the auditorium afterwards they formed a guard of honour for her.