IN THE INTERNATIONAL DHS FAMILY Family News
Français | English | Español
The Ministry of Sr. Jeannine
As part of our celebration of Catholic Sisters' Week -March 8-14, 2020- we highlight the ministry of Jeannine Légère, DHS, in order to underscore how the charism of the Congregation is lived out daily and leads to works being done in the name of the Spirit in outreach to others and to the formation and growth of communities of faith and love.
Jeannine was born in Hartford, Connecticut, attended elementary school with the DHS and entered the Congregation in 1963. She made profession in 1966 and soon thereafter embarked upon an interesting religious life journey.
Jeannine finished her undergraduate studies while in community in Newport, Rhode Island. She lent a helping hand to the Sisters in St. Clare's Community as they ministered to the elderly and the ill at the Nursing home on the premises. She served there in two installments going back and forth to and from the Provincial House in Putnam to also help out as needed. She was eventually called to work with Sr. Imedlda Michaud to establish a preventive health care program for the US Province. She also gained nursing experience by tending to the needs our retired and ill Daughters in residence at Villa St. Joseph, one street down from the Provincial House
As times changed and religious communities made a greater effort to mix with the general population and to set up communities of service in deprived areas, Jeannine transferred to Bridgeport, CT, the largest city in population in the state. There were a number of other DHS in the region working with students in the Catholic Schools. Jeannine welcomesd this opportunity to change venue and find new situations and people. She says that one of the great advantages that she so appreciated was working with the Visiting Nurse Association. This connection gave her the opportunity to spend time with the ill in their homes and to get to know them better at the physical and spiritual level. The area in which she worked was very poor and the residents lacked many material things. Little did anyone know at that time that this would be a super preparation for Sr. Légère's mission in Nigeria.
Jeannine happily accepted her mission to Nigeria thinking she would be able to pursue her nursing career and serve the people of Nigeria in that context. However, it was somewhat of a shock when she learned that nurses in Nigeria were expected to function as doctors and accept the medical responsilibites that go with that calling. Our Sister was not ready for that kind of work; she had not trained to be a doctor. It quickly became very cleaar to her that it would be best to look in another direction of service. She could better live the charism if she were comfortable and well-versed in her field of competence. And so it was that the Spirit closed one door and gently opened another for Jeannine. She would stay in Nigeria and work with the young professed Sisters to form them and prepare them to continue in their chosen vocation. In addition to working very closely with the young sisters, Jeannine became involved in retreat work and spiritual guidance programs. She learned to collaborate closely with other congregations and, with the Jesuits present in the region, she established a Retreat Center for the DHS and for other religoous and lay groups. We can say that the bulk of Jeannine's time was spent making sure that the young Nigerian sisters were well prpepared to carry on their work in the country and share the purposes and goals of the mission. So, after 18 years of service in love, convinced that the Nigerian sisters were ready to continue the DHS mission according to their own culture, Jeannine came back to the USA. There were many tributes and occasions to thank her. Sr. Monica ANYI, vice-provincial of Nigeria, commented to Jeannine that "her work was her legacy".
Now back in the USA Jeannine has found a new niche and is involved in a multicultural parish community and assists in caring for our retired and ill DHS in a local nursing home setting. She is happy to be back and to be able to continue to serve her sisters and the community at large.
Through her many years of living out the charism offered in Matthew 25, Jeannine always found it a challenge to "find her place in each situation" and to let go in order to listen to the ongoing whispers of the Spirit. She is most grateful for the many relationships into which she was invited and to whichshe has been able able to respond. She is foreve beholding for realizing that each one of us has many gifts or charisms and that we need to learn how to integrate these in the lives of others for mutual growth and to assure that "all have life and have it in abundance." (Jn 10, 10)
Françoise G. Gauthier, PhD. Published on March 12, 2020
For more information you may contact Jeannine at: Email