Golden Jubilee of Sister Janet - New York, United States

"Janet died on the 30 November, entering into the Life and Joy of the God who is all tenderness… We do not wish to change anything in the article that was prepared for this "Pain" on the occasion of the celebration of her Golden Jubilee during which, in her Magnificat, she expressed her love for the Lord and her attentiveness to families." (Sr Marie-Claire, General secretary).

The United States Province experienced great joy in celebrating the Golden Jubilee of Sr. Janet McCann. It was a day that was planned in haste, only a month in advance, since it was questionable whether Janet’s health would allow her to participate fully in the day. When Janet requested to celebrate her Jubilee on September 8th, the birth of Mary, plans were quickly set in motion. 
 
Janet is a cancer survivor of 20 years, (she was diagnosed on May 5th, the same day of her First Vows) and some say she has had nine lives surviving many health complications over the years. On May 5th of this year she was admitted to the hospital and this time she returned home to her 120th Street Community with hospice care services. 
 
The Jubilee celebration was held in Walden, which was theoretically closed; some years ago the Sisters moved into a nursing home. Therefore, the house which is for sale was quickly re-opened and decorated to receive Janet and the 80 guests – her sisters, family and friends – invited to the Jubilee. This celebration brought back so many joyful memories of the many gatherings that were held in Walden when Janet was Provincial. It was such a life-giving experience for everyone. She wanted to honor Mary on the occasion of her Jubilee and chose the theme of the Visitation with Fr Pernet’s instruction to ‘Show your love for others by sharing life with them.’ 
 
 
This image of the visitation is a photo of a beautiful stained glass by an artist in Chartres. It was given to the Province by the Sisters in France on the occasion of our centenary in 1991 at which time Janet was the Provincial. 
 
One of the most beautiful moments in the Liturgy was when Janet and her grand-nieces honored Our Lady in creating a bouquet of flowers while singing a hymn to Mary – ‘On this day, O beautiful Mother’. The most effective way to share the essence of this day is to share Janet’s own personal reflection along with excerpts of the homily given by her brother, Brother Richard McCann, a Missionary Servant of the Most Holy Trinity. 
Sr Annette, LSA Provincial
 
 
 
Mary’s Magnificat echoes in my heart today as I celebrate my Golden Jubilee. ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God, my Savior.’ (Luke 1:46) 

I am grateful to God for having called me to this vocation which allows me to share life and ministry with others who are connected by a desire to transform our world into a more just and loving world. It is very important for me to be aware that I am united in the communion of saints with those who are needy, for it is ‘God who raises up the lowly’ and ‘with God all things are possible’.

‘It is for the family that you exist’ said Fr. Pernet. The Family – wherever one is ‘at home’ – is of vital importance. It is the place where each one is called by her and his own name, where one is loved and learns to love, where one is respected and treated with dignity. The world is becoming more and more impoverished as it loses its sense of responsibility for the other. This is a painful experience for the Church, the people of God and for those who love the Church. In Christ we are members of the Family of God and it is our task to assure that each human being is recognized as our sister and brother and has a place to belong – to call home. I know first-hand the experience of mutuality which gives life to both the giver and the receiver. Little did I know I would live to see this day – my Golden Jubilee. These last twenty years in which my health has been compromised I have been given many opportunities to develop a great compassion for those who suffer, having known suffering deeply myself. 
 
Sr Janet, 8th september, 2012
 
 
Excerpts from Brother Richard’s homily:
 
One of the words I would use in describing the Little Sisters is “Compassion”. In no uncertain terms the Gospels inform us, over and over again, that Jesus Christ was a man of compassion. The words of Antoinette Fage “Show me the poor and I will run to them with a truly loving heart” echoes in each Little Sister’s heart – in Janet’s heart – Their compassion gets inside the skin of the one who hurts, to walk with them. To be “present” – to be “Eucharist” for them. 
Mary was standing at the foot of the cross with a brave heart, with an inner power and a willingness […] to be present with her son to bring about salvation and redemption. 
 
Janet and the Little Sisters have stood and continue to stand with others to help them carry and lift the crosses of abandonment, injustice, abuse, inequality, discrimination, illness, and great loss – to speak for the voiceless. 
 
Brother Richard
14/12/2012
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