October 22, 1917 - March 16, 2013
We come here this evening to celebrate the life of Sister Jeanne D'Arc O'Hare.
This afternoon as we welcomed Sister Jeanne D'Arc to this chapel, we heard a reading from our Constitution – Spirit and Purpose: "We strive in every aspect of our lives to be for others a visible sign of God's presence and active love."
As a Sister of St. Joseph for 72 years, Sister Jeanne D'Arc lived this passage of our Constitution. The high school students, college students, faculty and staff of Regis College, diocesan clergy, even the people in Nigeria witnessed the charism of the Sisters of St. Joseph through Sister Jeanne D'Arc's gracious personality and strong leadership. Where ever her ministry took her, people observed a woman religious who was not only very intelligent, but a woman who possessed the ability to bring forth goodness in people, as well as structures that were within the charism of a Sisters of St. Joseph.
In all her relationships with people Sister Jeanne D'Arc radiated happiness. Her affirming words were treasured. Her ideas were embraced. Those involved in projects under Sister Jeanne D'Arc's leadership saw their dreams become reality. Sister's demeanor could guide youth, college personnel, and even clergy toward efficient goals for their programs and status in life.
Sister Jeanne D'Arc's was the Sponsor to many girls who become Sisters of St. Joseph, some of whom are present here this evening! St. Paul in his letter to the Philippians, which we will hear at Mass tonight, expressed Sister Jeanne D'Arc's actions as "united in convictions and united in God's love, having a common purpose with a common mind, that of Christ Jesus."
To say that Sister Jeanne D'Arc was a prayerful woman is to have recognized her connectedness with her God. Sister lived Jesus' words as expressed in the Gospel passage of the Vine and the Branches. Through her prayer, Sister was aware that she could not bear fruit all by herself. She knew her strength was in the knowledge that she was a branch of God's VINE. By staying attached with her God, she "should bear much fruit". Evidence of this is to just observe Sister Jeanne D'Arc's legacy!
As a young Sister studying in the summer at Regis, I used to sit with my Party, (Sisters with whom I entered), at the Angel statue watching Sister Jeanne D'Arc and the Regis Sisters walk their evening stroll. On one of my visits to Sister Jeanne D'Arc, I told her of my summer memory, and how I use to look with awe at her and the Sisters walking past us. Sister looked up at me from her bed and gave me a big smile. That afternoon I learned what so many of you here present already know. In her lifetime, Sister Jeanne D'Arc was a humble, gracious lady, who always saw the presence of Christ in people and all creation.
As we gather tonight in celebration of Sister Jeanne D'Arc 's life, memories of Sister are gifts that come to our minds. Memories can help us in our reflection of Sister Jeanne D'Arc now and in the days to come.
I now invite Sister Cecilia Agnes, Sister Jeanne D'Arc's dear friend and faithful companion to come to the podium and share with us her memories of Sister. I also invite any family or friend of Sister to also share with us your memories if you wish.
We give thanks for the gift Sister Jeanne D'Arc was to her family, to our Congregation, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston, her colleagues and her friends. We are grateful to Sister Jeanne D'Arc for answering God's call and giving her life to the mission of the Sisters of St. Joseph, with her focus of recognizing that "relationship is at the heart of Mission".
Given by: Gail Donahue, CSJ