2019 Jubilarian – Janet Sullivan

Our early IHM history describes our location in Monroe, Mich., as “on the banks of Lake Erie.” It was there that I first arrived as a candidate to begin an unknown journey that took me from place to place in the circle of life.

There were many ministry shores along that journey and many blessings that I noted in my past Jubilee celebrations. As my 75th anniversary approaches, I now have a sense of completing that circle as I retire to “My Convent Home – beloved and cherished; on the banks of Lake Erie.”

As many of you know, it was difficult to let go of our active ministries. As my ministries developed, so did my circle of friends grow. Our parish and IHM mission goals and beliefs kept us motivated to work together. I truly believe that God gives us the strength to know when change is needed.

During the spring of 2014, I discerned with others regarding my retirement and in October 2014, I returned to where I first began my IHM journey. My circle of life took on a new style. The general sense here is that we are “rehired” rather than retired! After leaving my home of 27 years in St. Lawrence Parish in Utica, Mich., I settled into a downsized dwelling in the Liguori section of our IHM Senior Living Community. My sisters, Margaret and Genevieve, were there to greet me, as were so many other IHM friends. Spending time with Margaret and Gen until Margaret’s death in 2018 was a great blessing. Gen and I are the only two members of our loving family left.

There is no way I can enumerate the hundred-fold blessings I receive each day in my retirement years. There are opportunities to attend retreats, prayer services and daily liturgy; to share faith experiences and conversations with sisters, residents and staff. We are encouraged to join committees of our choice; I joined the Spirituality Committee. We have constant reminders to pray for the needs of our world; to participate in various activities that support the needs of those around us, especially those in Health Care. We participate in community celebrations of Jubilees, feast days, as well as to say farewell to those who leave us for their eternal home. It is so evident that every need is met. It is wonder that I so often sing in my heart, “Praise, love, thanksgiving, my God to thee.”

It is with a grateful heart that I give thanks to God, my family, my community, my coworkers, students, parishioners and so many friends who have had a part in completing my circle of life.

It is so comforting for me to know that at this time and in this place, I can still continue to enflesh Christ’s words, “I have come that you may have life,” in my daily encounters with the sisters, residents, staff and visitors.