2014 Jubilarian – Janet Sullivan

Sullivan, JanetSister Janet Sullivan, IHM, was the 10th of 12 children. “I began to grasp the importance of prayer, hospitality, caring and sharing at a very early age!” she notes.

She was born in Canada, but the family moved to Detroit when Sister Janet was a year old. Her IHM teachers inspired her and sparked her interest in a religious vocation. In 1944, she became the fifth Sullivan daughter to join the IHM community.

She earned a master’s degree in education; taught second grade at Blessed Sacrament and Annunciation in Detroit; grade four at St. Mary of Redford; grades three and four at Christ the King in Detroit; grades two, three and four at St. Michael in Flint; and grades four and five at St. John in Fenton. She also served as principal at St. John for five years.

In the early 1970s, she did parish census in two different locales. “I encountered adults who were searching or questioning Vatican II implementations in the Church,” she says. “Some were angry with their past Church experiences; some very lonely; some in need of reconciliation; some feeling unaccepted; and others hungering for a renewed spirituality that would deepen their relationship with God. These experiences prompted me to consider another direction in my ministry.”

She immersed herself in pastoral ministry, serving in parishes in the Detroit area, as well as at St. Mary Parish in Charlotte, Mich. In 1987, she became the pastoral associate at St. Lawrence Parish in Utica, Mich.

“St. Lawrence Parish has become like family,” says Sister Janet. “Together we have strived to be life-giving instruments of God’s love, compassion, hope and forgiveness. A spirit of awareness of God’s presence in all people and in all creation, continues to surface in new responsible and creative actions amongst our staff, council, commissions and parishioners.”

In reflecting on her years in the IHM community, Sister Janet says, “There is no way I can capture the many blessings of 70 years in active ministry. I pause now to join in harmony with all my IHM Sisters, living and deceased, as we sing and pray the refrain of our ‘Centennial Hymn:’ Praise, love, thanksgiving, our God to thee.”