Vermont Catholic Professional: Joanna Turner Bisceglio
Joanna Turner Bisceglio, a member of Vermont Catholic Professionals from Blessed Sacrament Church in Stowe, is a business development professional, a Catholic homeschool mother for 10 years and avid outdoors adventurer.
But her vocation is marriage, so she has kept her focus on family. “Look at the 2018 wedding picture (that accompanies this story) and see how our family loves each other,” she said.
Pictured clockwise are her husband Ken, son-in-law Dalton Gomez, Bisceglio, Luke, Brielle, Kateri and Julia. “My children were a gift of openness and love to each other and to the world for my husband and I,” she said. “If you can see love reflected in my family’s eyes, this is the best result I can imagine in the earthly realm.”
Her “future ‘hoped for’ result would be that my children will carry on the torch of faith to their children,” she added.
Bisceglio leads a new multi-generational women’s faith-sharing group called “The Catholic Sisterhood.” She is the Blessed Sacrament Parish pro-life contact, has served on the Vermont Right to Life Committee and has emceed the annual Rally for Life at the Statehouse in Montpelier since 1996.
“I’m involved in the pro-life issue because it is the most pressing civil rights issue of our time. If we can’t stand up to protect the most vulnerable human beings, who can we protect?” she said. “As a woman, I am so sorry that culturally abortion has been becoming aligned with women’s rights – it’s a tragic betrayal of women’s dignity as ‘the crown jewel of creation.’”
A lector, she has for more than five years joined friends to host monthly “First Sunday Coffee Hours,” an after-Mass fellowship.
She refers to St. Augustine who said that the two essentials (besides faith) are life and friendship. “We need friends in Christ around us on the journey to stay close to our Lord and the Blessed Mother,” she said. “As a marginally catechized ‘80s child, I have become committed to the New Evangelization and have discovered faith much richer and more amazing than I ever realized it could be.”
Bisceglio seeks to build up the Church by leading one heart at a time toward a relationship with Jesus, beginning with her own. “I pray that it is helping to build up the Church,” she said. “I will stay faithful to prayer and the work, although I do not know if I will see the fruits of my labor. And with slight attention deficit, I am not sure how effective I have been at getting the message shared with others in Vermont. But through my service in my vocation and career, hopefully The Good News is being shared — somehow radiating out like rays of the sun. I hope!”
Offering words of encouragement for others to get involved in parish service/prolife activities, she offered: Pray regularly. Do good work. Support great ministries like Birthright, 40 days for Life and Aspire. Stand for truth even if you are standing alone. Speak the truth of the Catholic faith in love. “We as faithful laypeople need to build up the Church in this challenging time.”
Bisceglio is inspired by St. John Paul II and the Theology of the Body. “Our blessed Mother is my go-to for feminine genius and an inspiration for her courageous ‘Fiat’ to the Lord’s calling,” she added.
She finds strength in daily prayer and by staying fit in body, mind and spirit. The sacrifice of the Mass is important as are The Magnificat and saints like Francis, John Paul II, Kateri, Teresa of Calcutta and Blessed Pier Giorgio. Bisceglio enjoys nature, silence, friendships and EWTN’s Ave Maria Radio programs, especially Catholic Connection’s Teresa Tomeo and More2Life with Dr. Greg and Lisa Popcak. “Bishop Robert Barron and Father Mike Schmitz on Youtube — they strengthen me on the way,” she said. “Also my priests, current and past — they have all nudged me to use my gifts to build the Kingdom” of God.
“A real strength of hers is multi-tasking,” said Bisceglio’s husband, Ken. “I chuckled at the reference to ‘attention deficit’ since what sounds like a weakness is the opposite. In a life of working and marriage with Joanna I admire how she excels at these concurrent roles – the ability to juggle four kids, an engineering office, homeschooling, adventures, pro-life and parish service.”
Vermont Catholic Professionals will host a Christmas social event on Wednesday, Dec. 11, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Holy Family Parish Hall in Essex Junction.
Beverages will be provided; bring a dish to share.
Donations will be collected for Vermont Catholic Charities’ Advent Appeal. The guest speaker will be Mary Beth Pinard, executive director of Vermont Catholic Charities Inc.
RSVP at vermontcatholic.org/vcp.