Sister John Raymond passed away peacefully on the morning of January 6, 2016, at St. Joseph’s Convent, the Motherhouse of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Brentwood, Long Island. She was ninety-one and in the 68th year of her religious life.
Sister John Raymond’s education began at Our Lady of Good Counsel and St. Angela Hall Academy. After completing a B.A. in English at the College of New Rochelle and an M.A. in English at Columbia University, and after one year of teaching in the public school system, Sister John Raymond joined the Sisters of St. Joseph in 1948.
After teaching at St. Brendan’s Parochial School and Fontbonne Hall Academy, Sister John joined the faculty of St. Joseph’s College in 1956 as chairman of the Education Department. During her years at the college, her religious superiors called upon her to pursue further graduate study, and she subsequently earned a Ph.D. from St. John’s University and completed post-doctoral studies at Catholic University, Ohio State University and Loyola University. She made extraordinary contributions to both the Brooklyn and the Long Island campuses of St. Joseph College.
Sister John Raymond served as General Superior of the Sisters of St. Joseph from 1978 to 1986. In that role, she led the congregation with wisdom and courage to live out and consolidate the changes resulting from the Second Vatican Council. The mission of the congregation flourished as Sisters continued to minister in parishes, schools and medical facilities. It expanded as Sisters became involved in social services, ministry to the imprisoned, providing shelter to those in need, and social justice issues. The life of the congregation was of great importance to her and out of a deep spirituality, Sister John Raymond encouraged participation and a great love for the members and mission of the Sisters of Saint Joseph.
She was awarded honorary degrees by Niagara University and St. John’s University and served on the Board of Trustees of eleven C.S.J. high schools, as well as Cleary School for the Deaf, St. Francis School for the Deaf, Catholic Medical Center in Brooklyn, Maria Regina Residence and St. Joseph’s College (1973-2014).
Her tireless service and selfless loving leadership enriched countless lives over the decades, and as we acknowledge her contributions to the communities to which she devoted her life, it is timely to reflect upon a quote of hers printed in The Tablet in 1978, shortly after Sister John Raymond was elected General Superior of the Sisters of St. Joseph: “A Sister never retires. Her total life is a response to the Lord, until the day she dies.”
Eulogy given by Sister Mary Florence Burns, CSJ: Eulogy for Sister John Raymond