By Jennika Baines
Sun Associate Editor
Jordan Henneberry does not look like a nun.
With her thick, curly red hair tied back back from her face, wearing a T-shirt and a pair of jeans and with a bag slung across her shoulders, this seemed even more apparent as she walked along with the sisters in simple brown habits who visited her over the summer.
Then, Jordan was a college student with a big gang of friends and a fierce ability on the basketball court. Now, Jordan is a postulant with the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration.
“God made it very obvious to me. As much as I needed to know, He gave that to me,” Jordan said. “Nothing ever led me in any other direction.”
Jordan was very active in the youth group at her home parish of St. Anne, Mother of Mary in Mexico and went to two World Youth Days. She loves sports and played for the basketball team in both high school and at Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she majored in social work. Sister Gianna Marie Weber, OSF, the chaplain and coach for the team at Franciscan University had a big influence on her decision. “She helped me with basketball and I got more curious and asked deeper questions about what the life was like,” Jordan said.
Within a few months, Jordan and some of her friends drove to Immaculate Heart of Mary Province in Mishawaka, Ind.
During her visit, she was able to experience what a day in the life of the sisters was really like. Jordan said she loved it from the very first minute. “You could see the joy in the sisters’ faces and they were so welcoming and excited for you to be there,” she said.
“We raised both of our children to entertain the idea of a vocation,” Lucienne Henneberry, Jordan’s mother, said. “We just let that enter into their way of thinking. Our son discerned that he wanted to be a married man. But Jordie, even as a young girl, said she wanted to be a ‘nun doctor.’”
Even with Jordan’s fascination with movies about nuns when she was a little girl, her deep involvement in her parish youth program, her enrollment at a Catholic college and her trip to visit a convent, the news of Jordan’s decision to begin the process to become a nun still came as a shock to some.
“My friends at Franciscan, I think it’s easier for them,” Jordan said. The faith element is so strong at the University that entering religious life isn’t such an unusual choice to make. Some girls there go on road trips with friends to visit several convents in an effort to find the right fit. Jordan said they call it “the nun run.”
As for Jordan’s high school friends back home in Mexico, many were having a harder time understanding her calling. “It’s still a shock,” she said. Even Lucienne said that when Jordan actually told her she was entering a convent, it was “a shock to my mommy system.”
Lucienne said the sisters have been very understanding of the varied emotions she and her husband are feeling. They called periodically to speak with her over the summer. Although she’s very happy for Jordan, she’s still coming to terms with the potential permanence of her daughter’s choice. Before Jordan left, she transferred her bedroom into a reading room. “She’s been very aware of the change in the family,” Lucienne said.
Lucienne is dealing, she said, by “being with people and making sure that I invest that free time into spiritual growth.”
Lucienne said it was particularly meaningful that Jordan would enter the Sisters of the Perpetual Adoration because she and her husband Joseph have participated in perpetual adoration since they were engaged. “He proposed to me in front of the Blessed Sacrament,” Lucienne said.
“I feel so happy about Jordan’s new home. The place is beautiful. I really will not worry about her,” Lucienne said. “She is and will be loved very, very much.”
Jordan has cut some of her hair so she won’t stand out as much, and in her plain blue jumper and simple black shoes she is beginning to look more like a Sister. But she’s still very much the same Jordan her friends and family know and love.
One of the things Jordan packed to bring along to the convent was a football, Lucienne said, “just in case the sisters didn’t have a good one.”