Sister Janet Schaffran, formerly Sister Helen Anthony, entered religious life from St. Theresa’s parish in Parma, Oh. She credits the Sisters who taught her in grade school with influencing her decision to enter religious life, as they were happy, committed women who knew how to bring out the best in her. She is inspired by the Community’s co-founders, Mother Marie de la Roche and Bishop Wilhelm Emmanuel von Ketteler.
She was a campus minister at Walsh University in Canton, OH (1980-89), and since 1992, she has been a hospice chaplain with Forbes Hospice/West Penn Allegheny Health System in Pittsburgh. She has found this ministry most rewarding. She says that being with people who experience intense vulnerability as they struggle with serious, often terminal illness, has taught her to embrace her own mortality, to let go and just be. A favorite Scripture quote is, “I am content with weakness … for when I am powerless, it is then that I am strong.” (2 Cor. 12:10).
Sister Janet is also the Associates coordinator for Pittsburgh, which has been one of the most important aspects of her religious life over the past 24 years. “I have had the honor of being in relationship with more than 150 women and men who make God’s Providence visible in their lives through their covenants and their relationship with us. Associates pray, study, and do faith-sharing together with the Sisters. In this way, we encourage one another to live our charism with greater compassion and justice,” says Sister Janet.
On a personal level, Sister Janet enjoys planning events, where others come together to celebrate and enjoy each other’s company. She also finds peace and harmony in planting and working the soil in order to harvest vegetables and share them with neighbors and family. Sister Janet says that the words that best describe her are “creative, passionate living, and strong, especially in adversity.”