With deep gratitude to God we celebrate Sister James Annette McAuley’s fullness of life – on November 2nd she would have been 100 years old and this past August, she celebrated 81 faithful and joyous years as a Sister of St. Joseph. On her entrance application in 1940 she described herself “as inclined to be lively” and indeed she was.
Three years ago James was honored as an Everyday Saint in Maria Regina and that tribute welcomes her home today. And we officially declare that James is the patron saint of those who love to iron
Born Rose Philomena to James and Annie McAuley, James grew up with four siblings in a warm, welcoming, faith-based Irish household in her beloved Brooklyn.
A fond family memory of James was her faithful traveling to Long Island to spend time with her family for summer vacations and holidays.
She was known as a “mighty mouse” because she was busy on the front lines always doing something to help others, always putting family needs before her own. With her lively spirit and reverence for deep relationships, she often recalled the numerous trips with her beloved mother to Atlantic City where they often sipped port wine and chatted late into the night.
Her family recalls her as a “progressive” and “informal” nun who shared the joy and vision of Vatican II that enabled James Annette to be a true sister of the neighborhood.
Teaching elementary school was James’ delight for the first 21 years of her ministry. In 1968 she had the honor (her words!) of returning to her Alma Mater, Bishop McDonnell HS to teach English.
Her resiliency and fortitude were tested when she shared the painful process of closing the school and St. Louis Convent in 1973. For the next 21 years James taught her treasured “beach kids” at Stella Maris High School. The added perk was her love of the ocean and anything beach-related. She and her God had many a deep conversation in the sand at Rockaway.
James was known as a dynamic teacher who gave her full hearted all to every class she taught. Many of her former students re-lived her life lessons as they continued to be part of her life – some are here today.
Always generous and with a willingness to help, James completed her active ministry working in the Craft Shop at St. Joseph’s Renewal Center.After 12 happy years in St. Joseph Convent, James found serenity and peace in Maria Regina Residence. Her gracious and welcoming manner as well as her prayerful stance concerning any physical challenge endeared her to staff and residents. You would think she didn’t have a worry in the world. Words of gratitude were daily showered in abundance.
In the final tribute to their Everyday Saint, the staff of Maria Regina Residence characterized S. James Annette as an “enthusiastic Sister full of love and integrity” -a tried and true Sister of St. Joseph!
And so, James Annette, it is with deep reverence, awe and gratitude for your life lived with fidelity and a vibrant sense of mission that I place the Constitution of the Sisters of St. Joseph, in your hands. May your 100th birthday be celebrated with joyful exuberance with your God and may your lively sense of a God who loves beyond measure bless us all!
Sister James Annette McAuley, CSJ died on October 3, 2021 in the 82nd year of her religious life.