Sister Emma Jean Middendorf entered religious life from St. Martin located in Pittsburgh's West End. She credits the Sisters of Divine Providence who taught her at St. Martin for influencing her decision to enter religious life. She says, "The CDP Sisters were excellent examples of happy, enthusiastic teachers. I always wanted to be a teacher, so I joined them. It is a wonderful profession, showing God's face to the world."
Sister Emma Jean's ministry in education spanned 70 years. She says, "Always a teacher... in the 2nd grade of Saint Martin’s school, West End, Pittsburgh, I decided I would be a teacher. The 75 years in our CDP Congregation has given me many varied and greatly appreciated opportunities for education. I have been a teacher since I was 18 years of age. I loved it." She taught at St. Sylvester (Brentwood, PA), Queen of Peace (Harper Woods, MI), St. Joseph (Braddock, PA), St. Alphonsus (Springdale, PA), All Saints (Etna, PA), St. Joan of Arc (Orleans, MA), St. Francis Xavier (South Weymouth, MA), St. Cecilia (Stamford, CT), Fachschule fur Socialpedagogisch (Oberursell, Germany) and Sacred Heart High School (Kingston, MA) where she taught German and was the chair of the World Languages Department. She was a great influence on Robert Munsch, a best-selling children's author, who says of Sister Emma Jean, "She let me live in the school library (at All Saints School in Etna, PA). I didn't do well in school but I was an avid reader and she was happy to let me muck around in the library." Currently, Sister Emma Jean is the co-coordinator of Associates in Kingston, MA.
She says of the aspect of religious life that she has found most satisfying, rewarding or surprising, "Awareness of the Divine is a singular blessing for me as the days and seasons of time gift my passing life. Only a limited number of days are allotted to each of us. The urgency of life’s pace calls me to action: to be consciously present to the needs of God’s people. I am in awe of having been called. Life has been an exciting journey. I see God everywhere—in the kindness of my Sisters, in earth’s amazing beauty, in the heart-beat of yet-to be-born babies, in the eyes of the suffering, in the fragility of time fleeting ... but I have only one life to give back. ... So grateful to my CDP sisters to share community life with them. Thank you!"
Self-described as inquisitive, articulate and fun-loving, Sister Emma Jean loves art, music, nature, travel and books.
CLICK HERE to make a gift in honor of Sister Emma Jean's 75th Jubilee.