Sister Vivien Jennings, OP

Sister Vivien Jennings, OP, went home to God on Saturday, May 5, 2018.  Sister was 83 years old, had been a member of the Sisters of St. Dominic of Caldwell since 1952, and had made her final profession of vows on June 28, 1960.

Always an extraordinary woman, Sister Vivien served as Major Superior of the Caldwell congregation, was the founder of Link Educational Center in Newark, President of the Dominican Leadership Conference, prime mover in the development of Genesis Farm, the first Communications Director, and then President of Caldwell College. During her long years of service, Sister also ministered as Telecommunications Director at Barry University in Miami, Florida, and as Public Affairs Director of Catholic Telecommuni­cations Network in New York City.

Sister also served as an elementary school teacher, a secondary school teacher, and a professor of English at Caldwell College.

She earned a B.A. in English from Caldwell College, an M.A. in English from Catholic University, an M.S. in Communications from Syracuse University, and a Ph.D. in English from Fordham University in addition to post-doctoral studies in English at Oxford University, in Urban Education at Harvard University, and in Finance at Columbia Teachers College.

While the women’s liberation movement was in full swing and often in a direction many found too strident and too lacking in compassion, Sister authored the book, The Valiant Woman, which offered a gentler view of what womanhood means and some of the best ways to live in that spirit, to help to bring about reconciliation between the world and the God whom it too often ignores. Though the book is now nearly forty-five years old, the truth of her insights, obviously based in a life of prayer, are as valid today as they were when the book was first published.

Sister “retired” from active ministry in 2010 and became a resident of St. Catherine’s Convent in the shadow of the Motherhouse where she had entered the community sixty-six years ago. Still active, Sister Vivien was nearly finished writing another book — this one on the virtue of hope. Working from Sister’s notes and from conversations she had had with some members of the congregation and her family, one of her nieces, in concert with a Caldwell Dominican, plans to finish this work Sister Vivien had begun.

Though in recent years Sister Vivien had suffered from various physical ailments, she never lost her drive, her care and concern for the lost and forsaken, and her great love for the God who brought her into being and who guided her faithfully throughout her life.

Sister Vivien is survived by a number of nieces and nephews and grand-nieces and grand-nephews. They, as well as her Sisters in community, will miss her gentleness, her incisive mind, and her quiet smile.

Go with God, Sister. And, please, remember to pray for us.

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