2015 Jubilarian – Juliana (Rachel) Casey
Sister Juliana (Julie) Casey came to the community to prove that she did not have a vocation.
“I had done everything possible to avoid joining. No one looked at me and thought I should become a nun,” she remembers.
Sister Julie grew up in Detroit with her older brother and two older sisters. She attended Holy Redeemer and St. Mary of Redford. She completed a bachelor’s degree in French at Marygrove College and then went on to the University of Michigan for her master’s degree. She had decided to pursue a doctorate in French, but after a day of ambivalence, she called the IHM Mother General. That convinced Sister Julie to join to put the persistent feeling of her calling to rest; it would work out or it wouldn’t.
“There was something about God. That was what I had to find out. What was clear and maddening was that God was calling me to this.”
Her postulancy was unique because she already had her degree. She took classes with every level of formation and was allowed to take classes that she hadn’t been exposed to previously. When she was a junior, she taught French and religion at St. Mary’s Academy. After teaching there for two years, she went to Belgium to study theology, completing her doctorate at the Catholic University of Luvain and then teaching at St. Meinrad Seminary in Indiana.
After two years, she was elected to leadership and served as provincial for six years. “I got to see the hearts of sisters and that was an honor,” she says. “It was a privilege and a grace.” She then took a sabbatical year and then taught for a year at Mundelein College in Chicago before serving in health care, where she ministered for the next 20 years.
“I realized I learned all these scriptures and in health care you see them,” she reflects. She has worked at many places through the Catholic Health Association; served as vice president for Mission at Sisters of Mercy Health System and executive vice president of Mission Integration for Catholic Health East. Since “retiring” in 2010, she has been writing and has a canonical appointment as one of the sponsors for Providence Health System on the west coast, working with other sponsors to appoint the board of trustees and the CEO.
Sister Julie’s greatest joy has been “coming to know this God who called me and wouldn’t let me go,” and coming to know the members of the community. She has found joy in “opening up the scriptures for a lot of people.” She is motivated by the opportunity to deepen her relationship with God and serving others. She is grateful for “my whole life. … I am grateful that I went to prove I didn’t have a vocation. I am grateful for the IHM community … its willingness to risk, to move forward.”