Her first assignment after college was teaching a lively 2nd grade class. A few years later she was moved to Notre Dame High School, San Jose, to teach math and discovered that teaching trigonometry, geometry and math analysis to teenagers was, in a word, fun. Barbara Filice-Deuel remembers her 1966 freshman class: “We were scared 13- and 14-year-old girls, and she was a fantastic math teacher; always trying to keep the classes from becoming boring.”
Sr. Jean also taught at Notre Dame High School, Belmont, later serving as vice principal–a good fit for this logical, organized Sister. Her time as principal at Notre Dame High School, Salinas, stands out in her mind as one of her favorites, “Salinas is a farming community of 100,000 and yet has a small-town feel. Everybody knows everybody. I had a good four years there.”
While she has enjoyed all her ministries, including her time in province leadership, she admits that none had as much impact as doing a “financial needs assessment” for the SND provinces in Africa and Latin America. What sounded like a dry assignment opened her eyes and heart. She visited each country for two weeks, learning about the ministries, expenses and sources of income from the Sisters there. She saw schools without books, paper or pencils, and clinics without medicine. She saw people with nothing. But she also saw incredible joy and still remembers all the smiles. “Visiting those countries and seeing our Sisters and the people there changed me and my view of what I need … I have learned to live more simply.”
From 2010-2017, Sister served as the congregation’s NGO representative at the United Nations. She found living in New York City and participating at the U.N. very energizing!
Sister Jean now serves as President of the Board of Directors for Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, CA. She also helps Sisters in the U.S. work together more effectively and collaboratively, especially in the development area.