We commend to your charity the soul of our beloved Sister Mary Jerome Roberts who departed this life on April 29, 2015 in the seventy-third year of her religious life
Age: 91 years, 1 month, 14 days
Resurrection Service: Saturday, May 16, 2015 at 11 a.m. at St. Rose Philippine Duchesne Church
This is the day, the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad. Alleluia!
(sung throughout the Easter season)
As we entered into the Easter season, we realized that Sister Mary Jerome would soon be with the Risen Lord “in Paradise.” What a blessed time to make her final journey; what a joy must now be hers as she has crossed over into the new life for which she was always preparing!
In grade school, Betty Ann Roberts was encouraged by a priest to become a Sister with the community of the Sisters of Divine Providence. She was attracted by the community’s name and was always grateful to God for leading her to this community. The ninth of fourteen children, Sister Mary Jerome was one of three girls in her family who chose religious life. One sister was an Ursuline missionary who lived and died in Thailand. The other sister was a Religious of the Cenacle who has also completed her earthly journey. The three are now together in eternal joy!
Having completed her novitiate, Sister Mary Jerome began teaching, even as she continued to study, earning both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education. For 17 years she taught in parish schools, in Illinois, in Brussels, Madison, Meppen and Venice, and in Missouri, in Bonnots Mill, California, Normandy, and Wardsville.
Sister Mary Jerome next studied nursing and for 23 years ministered as a nurse at St. Elizabeth Medical Center, before taking on new responsibilities at the hospital. For another 14 years, she served as director of volunteers and in pastoral care, writing that these years, “were the happiest, most satisfying and rewarding years of my life.”
In retirement, Sister Mary Jerome moved with her Sisters to St. Clare’s Villa in Alton, Illinois, where she served as sacristan and where she had time to deepen her contemplative prayer. Even in the years when she was fully engaged in active ministry, Sister Mary Jerome gave much attention to others, praying for their needs: poor people, single mothers and their children, those who carried heavy burdens or were suffering in any way.
With gentleness and compassion, Sister Mary Jerome always looked for ways to be of quiet service. She often brought communion to residents at the Villa, people who were sick and unable to attend the daily liturgy. She especially helped Sister Mary Thomas Jirauch and when she was no longer able to go to the main dining room at St. Clare’s, Sister Mary Jerome brought her meals to her room. In 2009, her Sisters in community presented Sister Mary Jerome with the Marie de la Roche Award. The award, named after the community’s foundress, is given to a Sister who exemplifies a “spirit of contemplation, combined with action, humility, gentleness, and simplicity.”
Living the joy of her faith and the peace of her prayer, Sister Mary Jerome always had a smile on her face. She was faithful to the God who called her and she lived every day seeking only to do God’s will. She wrote, “I have asked God to help me accept all that happens to me and others in a Christ-like manner…. I thank God for what He is doing in me, and through me, for me and for others here and in the world.”
Now, we rejoice and sing with Sister Mary Jerome, the joyous Easter song: Alleluia! This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad. Alleluia!
Birthday: March 15