Sister Jeanne Anne Collis, CSJ, 93, died Friday, March 6, 2015, at St. Joseph’s Provincial House, Latham, N.Y. She had been a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet for the past 68 years.
Sister Jeanne Anne was born on June 10, 1921 in Utica, NY, daughter of the late Leon and Ella Bevans Collis.
After graduating from St. Francis de Sales High School, she worked for six years as a fleet rater at Utica Mutual Insurance Company and served through World War II as a Gray Lady in the Red Cross volunteer women’s organization. On March 19, 1947, Sister Jeanne Anne entered the novitiate of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in Troy, NY, and professed final vows on March 19, 1949. She received a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in education, both from The College of Saint Rose, Albany, and pursued post-graduate studies in contemporary theology at the University of Hawaii. Sister Jeanne Anne taught for 22 years in schools of the Albany and Syracuse Dioceses and in Honolulu, HI, including the following: St. Bernard’s Academy, Cohoes; St. James School, Albany; Our Lady of Solace School, Syracuse; and St. Anthony’s School, Kailua, HI, where she was teacher and principal. During her 32 years in Hawaii, Sister Jeanne Anne also served as administrative assistant to the superintendent of schools, vicar for religious, assistant diocesan chancellor and associate director of the permanent diaconate program. In 1995, she returned to Latham where she served as pastoral-care coordinator at St. Joseph’s Provincial House and later, in various volunteer positions.
Sister Jeanne Anne was a gracious, vibrant woman whose joy in living overflowed into her every action. A Sister of St. Joseph to the core of her being, she gave the full expression of her many gifts to bring God’s unifying, reconciling love to all whom she met. A woman of the Church, Sister Jeanne Anne welcomed Vatican II’s call to the renewal of religious life and the many spiritual opportunities the challenge provided. Her enthusiasm for spreading the Gospel message of love and justice gave direction to Sister Jeanne Anne’s ministry. Whether she was guiding students, parents, clergy, women and men religious or elderly sisters, Sister Jeanne Anne brought a compassionate spirit, a solid intellect, a gentle humor and a passionate desire to share God’s goodness. A lifelong learner, she enjoyed nothing more than a thoughtful theological discussion, the company of her beloved family or a phone conversation with a friend from Hawaii. Having spent nearly half of her life as a Sister of St. Joseph in the Aloha State, she held in reverence the Island’s people, culture and natural beauty. Sister Jeanne Anne infused warmth, wisdom and love into every endeavor, and an amazing sense of fun when appropriate, and the world is a much richer place because of her life among us.
Sister Jeanne Anne is survived by her cherished family: two sisters, Marjorie Cahill and Dorothy Lawless, both of Utica; one brother, Richard (Audrey) Collis of Annandale, VA; 120 nieces and nephews through four generations; many friends; and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. She was predeceased by three brothers: J. Leon, Ramsay and Wilbur Collis; three sisters: Sister Mary Collis, CSJ, Helen Luke and Genevieve (Pat) McGinty; and many dear friends in the Sisters of St. Joseph. Sister Jeanne Anne’s Funeral Liturgy was March 12 at the chapel of St. Joseph’s Provincial House, Latham.
Contributions in Sister Jeanne Anne’s memory may be made to the Development Office of the Sisters of Joseph, 385 Watervliet-Shaker Road, Latham, N.Y. 12110.