Member Experiences


Life is not a journey we take by ourselves

Sr. Janet Jeffers

What brought me here

I first met our Sisters in my home parish, St. Joseph’s Minooka, who came to the Children’s Mass on Sunday Morning.  After Mass, they taught CCD to the public school students and I was one of those students.   Also, my Mother had a first cousin, who was a Sister in the Congregation.  I was named after her.  She passed away in 1973 after a sudden ailment of hardening of the arteries of the brain.  She was a dearly loved person in our Congregation.

Life as an IHM

I have been in the Congregation since graduation from high school in 1966.  I was educated at Marywood in Business Education.  I taught for seven years;  Business Education at St. Mary of the Mount High School in Pittsburgh and later at St. Alphonsus Commercial High School in New York City.  I was a bit apprehensive about teaching, but soon I came to love it.  I enjoyed working with the students and watching them succeed and get very good positions in the business world upon graduation.   Being in New York City and very close to the financial district, there were tremendous opportunities for our graduates to get very good positions and they got them. 

Later, I was asked to study Hospital Administration by the Congregation. I received my Masters in Hospital and Health Care Administration from Xavier University, Cincinnati, OH.  After two years of study, I was assigned as Assistance Administrator for Planning & Development for St. Joseph’s Hospital, Carbondale (now Marian Community Hospital)  My role include planning for the new five-level patient tower that needed to be constructed adjacent to the original hospital building. 

The planning for the project began in August 1981 after I finished studying.  No course work or previous experience could have prepared me enough!  So much of what I did was on-the-job-learning from the professionals I worked with throughout the project.  Ground was broken on March 6, 1983 by then Bishop John O’Connor (he had just been appointed Archbishop of New York).  It was one of his last public appearances as Bishop of the Diocese.  Work immediately began on renovating the original (1926) hospital building.  But, in spring, 1986, I was called to Leadership in the I.H.M. Congregation, and as a result, had to “let go” of my involvement in the project.  I found it very hard to leave something I worked so long and hard to accomplish.  I am one who likes to finish the things I begin.

After eight years in Congregation Leadership, I worked for the New York Jesuits as the Office Manager for the National Office of the Apostleship of Prayer.  After getting my license as a Nursing Home Administrator for the State of New York, I ministered in a 450-bed Nursing and Rehabilitative Care Facility for Catholic Health Services of Long Island based in Rockville Centre, NY.

I took additional courses in Health Care, along with taking a written and oral examination along with doing a Thesis to get my Fellowship in the American College of Healthcare Executives.  This was an accomplishment that I worked very hard to achieve.  The process was lengthy and tedious but I was very pleased to receive this honor.  I am the only member of our Congregation to attain this status.

I am a member of the Choir at the Church where I worship. I am also a Eucharistic Minister.  I volunteer my services at the annual picnic.  I am a member of the IHM Finance Committee, the IHM Sponsorship Committee as well as the Sponsorship Education Program.  I am a member of the Advisory Board for the Women’s Program at Guest House for Women Religious, Lake Orion, MI.   I am also a Board Member for the National Catholic Conference on Alcoholism and Related Addictions.

About Sr. Janet

I am most passionate about helping others; the ability to help people’s lives get better, whether it is by my teaching skills or my ability to connect them in finding what it is they need.  I attempt to get help or point them in the right direction to help them succeed on their own.

I am person who is kind to people, has a listening ear; a sense of humor; a person of integrity; community minded person, one who likes to help others – generous with her time and gifts.

I love to work outside in the yard – mowing grass, pulling weeds, planting flowers, vegetables – watching the growth of new life.  I enjoy movies, reading, music, photography, doing puzzles, being with friends and family, having a meal with family and friends and just enjoying each other.

It would be impossible for me to give up my Catholic Faith, my membership in the IHM Congregation, my family and friends. I would like to be remembered as one who was friendly, down to earth, fun, honest, caring and kind—who did a lot to help other people.

About the IHM Congregation

I have been privileged to be a member of the IHM Congregation.  I have had wonderful opportunities for being educated and able to use my education to help others.  I have enjoyed the places where I have lived, the Sisters with whom I lived and ministered.  Each place was a time of growth, learning, meeting new people and developing the skill of working with others to make a difference in our world.  I have met wonderful people in my life—Sisters in the I.H.M. Congregation, Sisters in other Congregations, i.e., Sisters of Charity of New York, Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, OH, Sisters of St. Dominic of Amityville, NY.  I have worked with and been directed by unusually gifted lay people that I have met along my journey of life in the places where I have been.  To all of these persons who have walked with me or assisted me on my journey of life, I give a heartfelt “Thank You.”   Life is not a journey we take by ourselves; it is in our relationships with God and one another that we find the strength we need to do what we are called to do.