Obituary: Sister Janice Elizabeth O’Neil

Sister Janice Elizabeth O’Neil (Sister Elizabeth Michael), 89, died Oct. 24 in St. Peter’s Hospital, Albany. She had been a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet for 66 years.

Sister Janice was born on Aug. 6, 1929, in Saranac Lake, daughter of the late John and Isabel Primeau O’Neil. After graduating from St. Bernard’s Elementary School and Saranac Lake High School, she attended The College of Saint Rose and received a bachelor’s degree in French in 1951. On March 19, 1952, Sister Janice entered the novitiate of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Troy; she professed final vows on Aug. 15, 1959. She subsequently received a master’s degree in French from The College of Saint Rose and served for 50 years as teacher and librarian in schools in the Albany and Syracuse dioceses. In the Syracuse Diocese she served at Sacred Heart School, Utica; and St. John the Baptist High School, St. Anthony’s High School, St. Lucy’s High School, and St. Patrick’s High School, all in Syracuse. Sister Janice retired to St. Joseph’s Provincial House in 2004.

Sister Janice was a faith-filled woman whose warm and welcoming spirit was a gift to all with whom she came in contact. A genuine “people person,” she was blessed with a beautiful smile, a keen sense of humor, and a genuine interest in each individual who crossed her path. Sister Janice’s life was very much about relationships: with her loving God, with her dear family, with her Sisters in community, and with her many dear friends and colleagues. She enjoyed the playfulness and simplicity of the schoolchildren as well as quiet, encouraging conversations with the elderly, and in both situations, her compassionate nature and her great strength of mind and heart enabled her to brighten the lives of many. In her later years, Sister Janice exhibited a peace-filled acceptance of her prolonged illness and inability to walk; this acceptance defined her and bespoke the beauty of a life well-steeped in the love of God and well-lived in service to others.

Sister Janice is survived by her beloved sister, Myrna O’Neil, of Ogdensburg; her sister-in-law, Chloe Ann O’Neil, of Parishville; her niece, Beth Rice (Steve); her nephew, John O’Neil (Meg), and their families; many dear cousins and friends; and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. In addition to her parents, Sister Janice was predeceased by her brother, John G. O’Neil; and by a dear family friend, Samuel Cavallario.

Sister Janice’s Mass of Christian Burial was held on Oct. 30 in the chapel of St. Joseph’s Provincial House, Latham.

Contributions in Sister Janice’s memory may be made to the Development Office of the Sisters of St. Joseph, 385 Watervliet Shaker Road, Latham, N.Y. 12110.