Sr. Jane Geiger – 70 Years

 

Born in Bound Brook, New Jersey, Sister Jane grew up in the country and spent a lot of time in the woods, which she called her “refuge.”  One of eight children, she attended Catholic Schools and was usually one of the girls identified as a future Sister.

When she was in high school, the bishop decided that every parish should have summer Bible school classes, and the Mission Helpers were asked to set up the program.  “When those Sisters arrived,” recalls Sister Jane, “the whole parish smiled.  They ran the Bible school in the mornings and visited parishioners in their homes in the afternoon.  As soon as I met them, I knew that was where I wanted to be.”

After graduation, Jane went off to Rutgers University on a full scholarship and continued her relationship with the Mission Helpers through letters.  “I hated university,” she says, “but the scholarship was a wonderful thing for my family, so I stayed.”

After two years, she told her parents that she was leaving school and joining the Mission Helpers.  “My family was angry,” she says.  “I felt like an outcast, but God gave me the grace to make that decision—it was what I needed to do.”

Religious education has been Sister Jane’s primary focus—education for adults and children, including children with mental and physical handicaps.  “Those children had been thrown away,” she says.  “The system had labeled them as incapable of learning.  But we worked with them and created new teaching aids to meet their needs.  We reached them and eventually saw a change in IQ scores.  They were able to receive the sacraments.  Somehow we figured it out.”

She has also served as a pastoral associate in parishes that included hospitals and hospices in Washington, DC, Ohio, Texas, New York, Pennsylvania, Arizona, New Jersey and Maryland.

And, this one-time college drop-out holds a bachelor’s degree in Education from Loyola University Maryland, a master’s degree in Scripture and Theology from Catholic University and another master’s in Education from Duquesne University.

Sister Jane is now living in St. Elizabeth’s Retirement Community but comes to the Mission Helper Center most weekdays to deliver the mail, tend the plants, and keep contact with the Center Sisters and staff.