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Sister Mary Jeanette Misiura

List of Deceased Sisters

Date of Death 03/12/2019

Sr. Mary Jeanette MISIURA smsm

August 10th, 1924 – December 3rd, 2019

SMSM SistersRosalie Misiura was born on August 10th, 1924, in Olyphant, Pennsylvania, USA.  She was one of thirteen children of Anthony Misiura, born in Poland, and Mary Zarnowski, who came from Little Rock, Arkansas, USA.

Rosalie entered the Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary in Bedford, Massachusetts on July 31st, 1948.  As a novice, she took the name “Sr Mary Jeanette”. She made her first vows on February 2nd, 1951.  Later that same year, she was missioned to the island nation of Tonga, in the South Pacific.

In Tonga, Sr. Mary Jeanette taught at schools in Mu’a, and then in Vava’u, where she made her perpetual vows in 1957.  That same year, she was called to New Zealand to serve on the staff of St Anne’s hostel, and later was Assistant to the Novice Directress in the novitiate of Heretaunga, NZ (1958-64). Several Sisters from New Zealand and the Pacific Islands have written to tell of their fond memories of Sr. Mary Jeanette when they were novices.  While in New Zealand, Sr. Mary Jeanette also obtained her Teaching Certificate from Loreto Hall in Auckland and studied for a year at Auckland University.

Returning to Tonga in 1969, Sr Jeanette became Principal of the new 'Ahopanilolo Technical Institutein Maufanga. Recently, that school celebrated its 50th Jubilee, and some Sisters wrote to say that just after the opening of the celebration, there was a prayer for the repose of the soul of Sr Mary Jeanette, the first Principal, and for all the SMSM Sisters who had taught there.

In January 1973, Sr Mary Jeanette was transferred back to her Province of origin, North America. At that time our community at St Stephen’s Seminary, in Hawaii, was about to be closed and Sr Mary Jeanette was asked to help with that difficult process.  Later she moved to our Ewa Beach community and taught in the school there.  She also managed to do a 6-month course in Anthropology at the University of Hawaii.

Sr Mary Jeanette was hoping to be missioned to Peru, but returning to Massachusetts in 1975, she was asked first to do some part-time work at Maristhill Nursing Home in the Payroll Department while she also studied Spanish, Theology and Psychology at Boston College. She did Clinical Pastoral Education at Mass General hospital during the last 3 months of 1975.

Finally, on February 2nd, 1976, Sr Mary Jeanette arrived in Peru.  She lived at the central house, in Maranga and taught English language courses at the Institute of Culture and Social Work in Lima.  After a home visit in 1981, she returned to Peru and to the same ministry.  When she had been ten years in Peru, she was asked to give two years’ service in the USA at the Lexington House, which at that time was a house of hospitality for our Sisters returning from overseas missions for their home visits. In 1987 she was named the Coordinator of that community.

In 1989 Sr Jeanette returned to Peru, but by September 1990, she had to return to the USA for medical attention.  She stayed in Lexington and in 1991 transferred to the North American Province.  Once again, she sought to have a ministry among those most in need, so that even while living in Lexington, she found a way to volunteer to help victims of AIDS in Cambridge.  Eventually she asked for and received permission to move to a subsidized apartment in Cambridge, so that she could be closer to this work with people who had AIDS.

In Cambridge, hr small apartment was in a high-rise building. She said she was never lonely there. There were 350 residents in the building – all elderly or disabled – and her heart went out to many.  At the time she wrote, “I see so many possibilities here and I have to restrain myself from getting too involved so that I can always be available for people living with AIDS.  But I have some needy sweethearts [in the building] that I have made an exception for.”

In 1997 Sr Mary Jeanette moved into Hispanic ministry in Lawrence MA where she worked in St. Patrick’s parish as the Director of Religious Education for the Hispanic children.  In an article about her, published in the Lawrence Eagle Tribune in 1999, she is quoted as saying, “I want to be a compassionate presence in a world that needs compassion.” That was her deepest desire throughout her missionary life.

In 2001 Sr Jeanette moved to the St Mary’s Apartments in Waltham, along with a number of other SMSM, and was named the Coordinator of the community there. Once again, she assisted other elders in the apartments, and also led a small group of the Legion of Mary.

Finally, in 2005, Sr Jeanette was missioned to the Marillac community, where she has remained since. When she needed more nursing care, she was transferred to the Elizabeth Seton Unit, where she died on December 3rd, 2019

Sr Mary Jeanette, whose aim was to be a woman of compassion, no doubt was guided by this article of our Constitutions:

19. ...we keep in mind that,
in the light of faith,
it is Jesus Himself we serve in each person,
especially in the little ones,
the suffering and the poor.

May she who brought much joy to many people, now enter into the joy of her Lord.

Gratefully in Mary,


Sister Mary Jane Kenney, smsm                                             Sister Virginia Fornasa, smsm

Regional Leader                                                                     Communications Secretary