SISTER JEANNE CATHERINE SHERIDAN, OP
JEANNE CATHERINE SHERIDAN, OP
I wouldn’t be surprised if, back in 1958, when Jeanne announced that she was entering the convent, there may have been those who thought she was choosing some kind of Death … following the life of an active St. Mary High School student in Rutherford. A big basketball player. A lover of Life!
But – was it a Death? Or the Birth of a new life? The life of a religious, a gifted educator – where she could also coach & moderate basketball teams!
Yes – dying to one type of life gave birth to another. A life filled with new moments, new places, new rolls to play out. New opportunities to share her giftedness! And – she was gifted in so many ways! Was there anything her hands couldn’t do? Yes, hers was a life fondly remembered by her students in St. Catherine’s, St. Mary’s, Lacordaire and Holy Angels. She impacted their lives in so many ways!
Then, on to a new way to share her gifts.
Was stepping out of the classroom a Death? Or the Birth of a new Life of sharing her gifts with her sisters in community? Driving our sisters here in St. Catherine’s was a chance for sisters to get to know one other on a deeper level, as well as for relationships with staff to grow.
Working in our Development Office was an opportunity to contribute to community needs, as well as to minister to those whose generosity touches us all.
Then came the time for retirement. Once again, a Death to “Active Ministry” or a Birth to “Active Retirement”?
Jeanne dreamt of being able to live full time in Little Egg Harbor, where she enjoyed strong community ties with her neighbors. Interestingly, she named her house “Shalom”, this word which is so rich in meaning. I sometimes wondered if it was a word that was studied with Paul Sansone in his Thursday Night study group, which Jeanne was so faithful to. The word Shalom is used for either Hello OR Goodbye. There is a balance between the two.
Just as our journeys are filled with births and deaths and births – a balance of sorts, our journeys are filled with hellos and goodbyes – and – hopefully – with Peace & Harmony in between.
For our Sister, Jeanne Catherine, I think in these last few weeks, she was telling us something. She was letting go – and perhaps she was telling us to let go. Jeanne journeyed with Life and Death and is now enjoying the fullness of Life.