Our Mission A Pressing Need How to Help
Those Called to Serve

Joan Johnson, Chairperson

Joan is the mother of seven grown children, and grandmother of ten. She is a Secular Order of Discalced Carmelite, and has served her Carmelite Community as council member, formation director, and has taught for the formation program. Joan helped establish: St. John the Baptist’s Perpetual Adoration, Lake Minnetonka Life-Care Center, and the St. John of the Cross Study Group. She also served on the Board of Directors of the Holy Family High School, Victoria, Minnesota, during the initial phase of its development. She was under the spiritual direction of the late Fr. Thomas Dubay, S.M., from 1991 until his death in 2010.

In 1985, she and her husband established, owned and operated Christopher Inn—a Bed and Breakfast in Excelsior, Minnesota. The Inn was featured in Better Homes & Gardens Magazines, Twin Cities Live TV show, and Better Homes and Gardens Travel show (cable). The Inn closed its doors in 2003 when the property was sold to a developer.

Her brother, Bishop Peter Christensen, was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis in 1985. In addition to serving in parish ministry, he served as rector of the Saint John Vianney College Seminary and was ordained bishop for the Diocese of Superior, Wisconsin, in 2007. In 2014, Pope Francis appointed him as the bishop of Boise, Idaho.

 


Judy Meier

Judy worked for the Dayton Hudson corporation in a variety of positions, including as Senior Training analyst for all systems training. She went on to become a retail training consultant for Dayton Hudson, R. H. Macy’s and Insty Prints. She also authored a state government sponsored program for all nutritionists in the public school system in Georgia. In 1996 she established Apostle Books and Gifts, an independently owned and operated Catholic store in Minnetonka, Minnesota. The store was open from 1996 to 2014.

 


Joan Grathwol Olson

Joan has more than twenty years experience working with museums, cultural organizations, and nonprofit groups (NGOs) to advance their mission through philanthropy. She has held top fundraising positions for the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and has served as a consultant to organizations as varied as the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Ascension Parish in North Minneapolis, and Will Steger's TransAntarctica Expedition.

 


Ann Thelen

Ann was a postulant for the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus in Alhambra, California. She has since served Catholic youth and young adults, including as a counselor for Catholic Youth Camp (CYC) and as a member of Saint Paul's Outreach (SPO) in Saint Paul, Minnesota. She has also been a faith formation catechist at Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church in Excelsior, Minnesota, and a personal assistant to the director of the Minnetonka Life Care Center. Ann is the married mother of four young children.

 


Jon Yanta

Jon graduated from the University of Saint Thomas in Saint Paul, Minnesota, with a Bachelor of Science in Finance and Marketing. He began his career in 1986 with CB Commercial, followed by employment with Koll Real Estate (formerly the Shelard Group). In 1997, he joined Cushman & Wakefield/NorthMarq as a suburban commercial real estate specialist in sales and leasing. Jon is a member of the Minnesota Commercial Association of Realtors (MNCAR) and the National Association of Office and Industrial Properties (NAIOP). An avid civic contributor, Jon and his wife Kalley have six children and they frequently speak on prayer, pro-life issues and participate in community fundraising efforts.