By JOANNE FOX
Bishop Walker Nickless thought the Alleluia verse for July 27 was appropriate to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Sister Jeanne Marie of Christ the Savior, OCD.
“Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart and yield a harvest through perseverance,” the bishop said in his homily.
“I can’t think of anything that expresses better at this Holy Sacrifice of the Mass the relation to Sister Jeanne Marie, who has perseverance and trust in Jesus Christ our Savior,” he added.
Sister Jeanne Marie noted her silver jubilee as a Discalced Carmelite Nun with a Mass, celebrated by Bishop Nickless and concelebrated by Father Gerald Feierfeil, a retired priest of the diocese, at the Carmelite Monastery, Sioux City.
Bishop Nickless offered Mass on an altar facing the sisters with his back to the congregation. Gold metal bars and wooden lattices separated the sanctuary from the nuns’ worship area. The Carmelites live a cloistered life and are only permitted to leave the monastery under special circumstances and with the proper permission.
Bishop Nickless referenced the Gospel reading from Matthew, which discusses the seed which falls on rich soil.
“Sister Jeanne Marie trusted and listened well to the word of God,” said the bishop. “We pray that she continues to live out her vocation in that way.”
Bishop Nickless clarified he was not making the nun to sound like a saint, “just yet.”
“However, her vocation shows the value of perseverance, despite obstacles,” he said, as Sister Jeanne Marie is confined to a wheelchair.
The bishop also made mention of the first reading and responsorial psalm that used the image of a shepherd as a guide “to follow now and in the kingdom to come,” as Sister Jeanne Marie had done.
Sister Jeanne Marie, the former Sharon Moran, was born in Milwaukee, the daughter of Charles and Mary Moran. Following her high school graduation, she was awarded a bachelor of science in medical record administration in 1984 from the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. Sister worked in Monroe, Wis., at St. Clare Hospital. She was involved in various parish activities, including church choir, liturgy, youth ministry and pro-life activities.
Sister Jeanne Marie entered the Carmelite Monastery in Sioux City in 1990 and professed first vows on May 8, 1993 and final vows on May 11, 1996. She took the name Sister Jeanne Marie of Christ the Savior on May 9, 1991, when she was clothed in Our Lady’s habit.
At the Carmelite Monastery, Sister Jeanne Marie has served as novice mistress, music director, council member and “turn sister.” The turn is in a small entry room and resembles a half-barrel shaped wooden divider – like a lazy Susan. Guests who wish to drop off something or have a conversation can be heard by the nun on the other side of the turn.
“God is in charge of my vocation, of everything,” Sister Jeanne Marie insisted. “My job is to follow Jesus. He will direct me – one step at a time.”
Sister Jeanne Marie has overseen the liturgies, purchasing of various items and the dogs, who reside at the cloister, Bishop Nickless reported.
The bishop expressed his gratitude for Sister Jeanne Marie’s “witness.”
“Your vocation is the beauty of your service to God with all of your heart,” he said.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, Thank you all for your continued prayers and concrete suggestions in these difficult days…