Sister Joan Christine Von Bank, SNJM

(Dora Darlene Von Bank)

December 4, 1932 – February 19, 2024

Sister Joan Christine Von Bank, SNJM departed this life on February 19, 2024 at South Hill Village in Spokane, Washington.

Sister Joan Christine celebrated 91 years of life and 67 years of her religious profession.

A Mass of Resurrection will be held Monday, March 4, 2024, at 11:00 a.m. at Immaculate Heart Retreat Center in Spokane, Washington.

Inurnment will take place at 2:00 p.m. at Holy Cross Cemetery in Spokane, Washington.


Sister Joan Christine Von Bank, SNJM

December 4, 1932 – February 19, 2024

Sister of the Holy Names Joan Christine Von Bank (D. Darlene Von Bank) died peacefully on Monday, February 19, 2024, in Spokane, Washington, at her home at South Hill Village.

Sister Joan Christine was born on December 4, 1932, in Great Falls, Montana, to Melville H. and Adeline G. (Von Bank) Whyte. With Adeline’s death six months later, young Darlene was adopted by her maternal grandparents, John and Lena Von Bank, and raised by them along with her uncle Jack, who Darlene called her brother.

In time the family moved to Seattle’s St. Teresa Parish where Darlene received her First Communion and Confirmation and attended the parish elementary school. She graduated from Seattle’s Immaculate High School. Darlene entered the novitiate of the Sisters of the Holy Names on July 25, 1954, receiving her religious name on February 5, 1955; she made her final profession on August 5, 1961. Her formal education continued at Marylhurst College, Marylhurst, Oregon, where she received her B.A. in English and French, and she completed a master’s degree in English from the University of Washington in Seattle. Her ministries included teaching at Holy Names Academy in Spokane and Seattle, and at her alma mater Immaculate High School in Seattle. She moved out of teaching into a variety of administrative positions within her religious community. Words on her vitae describe the variety: assistant registrar, support staff, computer staff, and development office computer services. The years spent as receptionist at St. Joseph’s Parish in Sandpoint, Idaho, held a special place in her heart.

The above is but a brief overview of Sister Joan Christine’s ministerial life. However, she is best remembered by her Sisters and Associates of the Holy Names and friends for her poetry and her love of creation. She had several poems published in “The Sister’s Today”. Her love of creation became a ministry to others as she and Sister Evelyn Ferguson, SNJM (RIP) became prophetic voices inviting others to learn the new cosmology, the Universe Story through their Earth Literacy Ministry, which offered opportunities for others to broaden their knowledge of Earth’s history and its place in the Universe. She embodied “the renaissance man” as she balanced within her life a love for the beauty of creation, words arranged in verse that captured the essence of place or moment, an ability to manage details with precision, and capture the heart of whoever she encountered with her smile.

Sister Joan Christine is preceded in death by her parents, Melville and Adeline Whyte, her maternal grand-parents John and Lena Von Bank, her uncle John (Jack) L. Von Bank and brother Ronald Whyte. She is survived by her religious community the Sisters and Associates of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary and by faithful friends from her years of gentle living. The Sisters of the Holy Names wish to thank the staff at the Memory Care at South Hill Village for their loving care, and Hospice of Spokane nurses who provided care and comfort to Sister Joan Christine in her final days.

Mass of Resurrection will be celebrated on Monday, March 4, 2024 at Immaculate Heart Retreat Center, 6910 S. Ben Burr Rd., Spokane, at 11:00 a.m. with a luncheon reception following. Inurnment will be at Holy Cross Cemetery, 7200 N. Wall St., Spokane, at the Sisters’ Memorial at 2:00 p.m.

Memorial gifts may be made to Sisters of the Holy Names Retirement Fund, PO Box 398, Marylhurst, OR, 97036 or online at