By Katie Beckmann, Communications Manager
In this week's "Embracing Faith" article, we will focus on Embracing Faith Through Ministry.
If you have ever attended mass, school, or an event at St. Charles in Staten Island, chances are you know Sister Jeanine Conlon, O.P.
When Sister Jeanine walks throughout the school or church grounds, she is consistently stopped and hugged by students, parents, teachers, and administrators who are eager to talk with her.
“I either taught them, their children, or grandchildren at school,” shared Sister Jeanine.
1965 was when Sister Jeanine initially came to St. Charles for her first ministry assignment after entering the Sisters of Saint Dominic of Blauvelt, New York.
After a few years in Staten Island, Sister Jeanine ministered at Christ the King School and St. Luke’s School in the Bronx.
It wasn’t until 1975, when Sister Jeanine found her way back to St. Charles School and ever since, she has been an integral part of the community. Throughout the years, Sister Jeanine has served as a teacher for first graders, eighth graders, CCD students, as well as Principal for 30 years.
“Being principal at St. Charles School was pure joy. St. Charles is a great school with wonderful teachers and kids.”
When she retired in 2005, she was asked to remain involved in the St. Charles community as a Pastoral Associate.
“Ministering as a Pastoral Associate has been a delight. Each day is different; most days I go to the school to say hello the students and faculty and see how I can help out.”
Even though Sister Jeanine is no longer the Principal at St. Charles School, she is still highly valued there by teachers, parents, and faculty, especially administrators.
“She does everything from fundraising for the school to helping students with their work to being a confidant for faculty members. We greatly depend on her,” commented Elizabeth Brown, Tuition Secretary for St. Charles School.
One of the most notable fundraising efforts that Sister Jeanine leads is the Stop & Shop A+ Rewards program. This program offers Stop & Shop loyalty card users the ability to earn funds for St. Charles School programs and enrollment activities, every time they make a purchase.
Sister Jeanine has gotten a majority of parishioners to sign up for this initiative and has raised over $150,000 throughout the years for St. Charles School.
Along with Sister Jeanine’s fundraising efforts, one of the most remarkable things about her ministry at St. Charles is the impact she had after Staten Island was devastated by Hurricane Sandy.
“When Sandy hit, our parish was badly affected. A lot of people lost loved ones, their possessions, and homes. There were times when our whole neighborhood was blacked out except the school. We had a generator and never lost power. We kept our school open 24/7 and had coffee, drinks, and food available. It was one of the best things that we could have done for the community; to be there for them during Sandy.”
Seeing the local community come together in times of need, like during Hurricane Sandy, is what keeps her driven and passionate about her ministry.
“Being in the St. Charles community has given me a great life.”