Sister John Ann Mulhern entered religious life from St. Sylvester parish in Brentwood, PA. Her parents, who professed their faith through action, and the Sisters of Divine Providence, who taught her, are who most influenced her decision to enter religious life. She says, "My parents were actively involved in our parish's church life. Being one of the first students of St. Sylvester School, I was impressed with our Sisters, especially Sister Immaculate who taught me piano and Sister Charlotte my principal. They truly cared about us." Her father’s advice was, “If you’re going to be a nun, don’t be a half nun be a whole nun; give your all to God and his people.” Those words have stuck with her wherever she has ministered.
Sister John Ann has been principal at Butler Catholic School in Butler, PA, since 2003. Previously, she was principal at St. Bonaventure in Glenshaw, PA (1979-1983, 1989-2003) and principal at Our Lady Queen of Peace School (1983-1988). She believes that God’s Providence surrounds us and that we are called to make it visible in what we say and do. About her ministry, she says, “I’ve been blessed in being able to minister in the field of education. Both as a classroom teacher and as a principal, the challenge is always there: How can I help my students and their families, my faculty and staff recognize God acting in their lives? For me, it is a real thrill to see how former students have grown into mature, responsible, active Catholic men and women.”
Of what aspect of her religious life Sister John Ann has found most satisfying, rewarding or surprising, she says, "I could not really specify any one thing. Sometimes it's just watching the reactions of a student—very young or an eighth grader—as he or she really gets some hard lesson; or listening to someone voice their concerns; or excitement of a student making the winning basket that reminds me of the tremendous love that our Provident God has for us. So often, people just want to hear about that love not in a 'preachy way' but in a 'real, down-to-earth way.' Being able to be there at that specific time, talking/listening with them is truly a treasured moment for me. I've been fortunate to be involved in the education of elementary age children my entire ministry, I am so grateful for this gift. Every day is an empty page waiting to be filled in with the words of daily experiences. What an opportunity to visibly see the presence of our Provident God!"
Self-described as dedicated, hardworking and others-centered, Sister John Ann enjoys reading—especially mysteries by James Patterson—walking outside and attending school sports events.
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