Happily thinking she would have the chance to practice nursing on the African continent, she was quick to note that things were different. In Nigeria nursing was to a large extent the equivalent of being a doctor. Nurses were expected to function as doctors, and Jeannine did not feel comfortable nor prepared to jump into that role. However, it turns out this was again providential as she realized there was need of a DHS to accept the responsibility for the formation of young Nigerian religious of temporary vows. Jeannine stepped into this position bringing to it a deep personal spiritual background, love and understanding of the charism and her experience in responding to the different gifts and calls of the Spirit.
During her 18 years in Nigeria, Jeannine was also involved in retreat work and the opening of a DHS Retreat Center with the Jesuits. Sr. Légère also dedicated much time and energy to preparing the young Nigerian Sisters to carry on the work she had begun. One of her comments upon her return to the States was that “the transition went smoothly because they were well prepared to carry on the DHS mission in their own cultural way”. In a tribute to Jeannine Sr Monica ANYI, vice-provincial of Nigeria, said: “The work you did was your legacy”.
Sr. Jeannine is now back in the USA and involved in a parish community with a mixed population; she is also assisting with the care of our Sisters in community at St. Joseph Living Center in Windham, CT. She also spends time coordinating activities with other nursing facilities in the vicinity. She sees this ministry as service to the Church, to the Sisters and to the community at large through which she can bring multiple and varied groups together in the same spirit.
Sister Jeannine very simply shares that through her various ministries and interaction with so many people her own life and growth have been positively impacted because she has had to learn to let go in many ways in order to be able to reach others. Her greatest challenge has been to find her place in each situation and to be truly available to the Spirit.
As she looks back upon how she lived her and the DHS charism, Sister is grateful for many people and things but most specifically for the many and varied relationships into which she was invited and the trust gained through those relationships. She is also most grateful to have come to the realization that one has received great gifts and is called to integrate them into the lives of others which helps us grow beyond ourselves in a global sense, so that all may grow and have abundant life.
For more information on Sr. Jeannine, her life and ministry please contact her at: email@example.com
Thank you, Jeannine, for sharing your story and making Catholic Sisters’ Week so meaningful!