The savior of St. Ann parish in Baltimore City is moving on, but she will not be forgotten anytime soon.
The parish celebrated the numerous contributions of School Sister of Notre Dame Jeanne Barasha June 18 at St. Matthew parish in Northwood. An estimated 300 people gathered for a banquet that overflowed with love for Sister Jeanne.
“Sister Jeanne, I think it’s a testimony by the presence of everyone here how much we love you,” said parishioner Eddie March.
Sister Jeanne is going to Nigeria to work in a secondary school, which is owned by the School Sisters of Notre Dame. It will bring an end, at least for now, to Sister Jeanne’s 25-year connection to St. Ann.
Third Order Regular Franciscan Father Peter A. Lyons, St. Ann pastor, said Sister Jeanne is “the face of St. Ann.”
“With strength and resiliency on the inside and a warm smile and velvet glove on the outside, Sister Jeanne has faced every challenge that this community and church has faced,” Father Lyons said.
Sister Jeanne arrived at St. Ann in as a parishioner in 1986 when it faced an uncertain future. She volunteered as a Sunday school coordinator and taught at Ss. James and John School. In 1994, she began working 10 hours a week at St. Ann and became pastoral administrator. Later, Sister Jeanne secured funds from foundations and other parishes to renovate the church steeple, bells and main rose window. The former rectory became St. Ann’s Anchorage: Parish House and Outreach Center.
Sister Jeanne orchestrated the sale of the former St. Ann School to Mother Seton Academy, which became another shining beacon of hope along Greenmount Avenue after extensive renovations in recent years.
School Sister of Notre Dame Charmaine Krohe, president of Mother Seton Academy, said Sister Jeanne is an inspiration.
“You are not Jeanne working for yourself,” Sister Charmaine said. “You are representing the School Sisters of Notre Dame. On behalf of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, I thank you for the presence you have given for 25 years-plus … All those years you have dedicated and remained faithful to the city of Baltimore.”
Oblate Sister of Providence Brenda Motte said Sister Jeanne surpassed expectations and worked tirelessly for Baltimore. Auxiliary Bishop Denis J. Madden told Sister Jeanne, “It has been a great blessing to have been a witness to what you have done.”
St. James and John principal La Uanah King-Cassell said Sister Jeanne “shared God’s message of service and love with her students.”
Parishioners of St. Ann saw that love and compassion as Sister Jeanne fought for society’s overlooked members.
“We love her,” said parishioner Sharon Johnson-Stewart. “Africa is so blessed to get her. We’ve been blessed, but she’ll always be part of our family no matter where she is in the world. She’ll be part of us for forever.”
In addressing those at the banquet, Sister Jeanne said “today has really been a glimpse of heaven.”
“I want to thank each of you individually for being part of my journey and part of my life,” she said. “You have enriched my life and as I go forward, I know I take all of you with me.”