A native of Oak Park, Illinois, Joan has lived in Rome for four decades and has worked for or covered the Vatican as a journalist and author in that time. With a B.A. in French from St. Mary’s College of Notre Dame, Indiana and a Diplome from the University of Fribourg in Switzerland, Joan taught French for 5 years in the U.S. She moved to Rome and began an extensive journalism career, specializing in the Vatican. She was invited in 1990 to work for the newly-created Vatican Information Service (VIS) in the Holy See Press Office as the English language writer and editor.
Fluent in several languages, Joan was a member of several high level Holy See delegations to international conferences (Cairo 1994, Copenhagen 1995, Beijing 1995, Istanbul 1996, Doha 2004), covered numerous papal trips, one papal funeral, one papal resignation, two conclaves and the canonizations of Saints John XXIII, John Paul II and Teresa of Calcutta.
Having retired from VIS in June 2005, she was appointed EWTN’s first Rome Bureau Chief in the fall of 2005. (succeeded by Alan Holdren in fall 2017) You can read her daily column, “Joan’s Rome,” (https://joansrome.wordpress.com), follow her on Facebook (facebook.com/joan.lewis.10420), watch her “Joan’s Rome” videos on EWTN and listen to her weekend radio show, “Vatican Insider.” Her twitter handle is @joansrome
Called “Rome’s Joan” by her many friends in the Roman Curia, she is often a guest on Catholic radio and a guest lecturer in Rome and the U.S. Pope Benedict named her a Dame of St. Sylvester in 2005. She is also a Dame of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre and a Dame of the Constantinian Order.
St. Mary’s College named Joan the recipient of its 2019 Alumna Achievement Award.
Books Published: “Jubilee 2000 in Rome” (1999 Scepter Press), “A Holy Year in Rome” (2015 Sophia Press). Also contributed chapters to: “Walk in Her Sandals” (Ave Maria Press, 2016) “When Women Pray: Eleven Catholic Women on the Power of Prayer (2017 Sophia), “Gaze Upon Jesus” (Ave Maria Press, 2018), Listening for God (Teresa Tomeo, Sophia Press 2020), Wrote Foreword for “ROME, A Pilgrimage with Mary,” Fr. Joe Roesch, MIC 2018.
Member of the Parish Council at St. Patrick’s Church in Rome (home to American and English-speaking Catholics. The Paulist Fathers have been serving the American community in Rome since 1922.