Today, Sr. Jeannie Humphries responds to questions posed by students of our Ursuline schools. Sr. Jeannie is an Ursuline of the Eastern Province who ministers as Assistant Professor of Education at Concordia College, Bronxville NY, and Literacy and Special Education Consultant at Cooke Center for Learning and Development, NYC. She recently completed her Doctorate and is pictured here with Sr. Pat Schiffini at the graduation ceremony. Congratulations, Sr. Jeannie!
How many years have you been a nun? I entered the Ursulines in 1996, so in September it will be 17 years.
What’s your favorite thing about being a nun? I love the opportunity of coming to know more people through my sisters and their various connections. I get to learn about others, see new places and join in wonderful conversations.
What is the most difficult part of being a sister? How do you overcome it? Right now, I am the youngest member of our province and that can be difficult at times. Many sisters are 30, 40 or 50 years older than I and struggle with aging and health issues. However, this is also a learning and stretching experience for me. It encourages me to grow more deeply in skills of patience, kindness and compassion. I love my sisters tremendously and want the best for each one of them. Sisters are not exempt from the human condition, so we suffer pain, too. Accepting this has allowed me to minister and reach out to others who are struggling and help friends and colleagues with aging parents. Even with the aging process, my sisters are still amazing in the way they stay involved and keep up with things. Their conversations, efforts for social justice, calling Congress or writing letters inspire me.
I am also a member of a great organization called Giving Voice for women religious under age 50. This means that those of us from various congregations get together to share our dreams and hopes. We meet at conferences, retreats, go on summer vacation together, and communicate via phone, Skype, Facetime and Facebook. We share about our prayer, life, music, television and books. Being with them is so much fun, and these relationships are very meaningful to me. I have peers in religious life, and while we each have different initials after our names, we are all Sisters and working to live out the Gospel vision.
How do you plan to help people in the world be recognized for their talents? Professionally, I am an educator. I teach education courses at colleges and graduate schools and supervise student teachers, plus I work in elementary and special education classrooms providing literacy instruction and consultation. I stress that each person must first be recognized for what he/she can do and be praised for that. We need to help others find their own gifts and talents and help them develop them. As an educator, I do that by remembering each student is an individual and that my lesson and activities are meant to help the students learn and grow.