We come together today to celebrate the life of Marie Teresa Jensen, a Sister of St. Joseph for sixty-six years. Born to Harold and Bridget, Marie grew up in Brooklyn attending Our Lady of Guadalupe elementary school and St. Brendan High School. After entering the congregation she was given the name S. Mary Humbeline, after a Benedictine saint. Marie would live her life in a spirt of gentleness and kindness, always attentive to God speaking to her heart.
Marie earned a degree in Religious Studies and a Masters in Pastoral Ministry. She taught in St Robert Bellamine where she influenced many students and formed life-long friendships. She began her ministry in Puerto Rico as a teacher in Colegio Santa Teresita. Returning to the states, Marie taught in St. Agnes, Degraw Street and began her ministry in Religious Education at St. Elizabeth’s in Huntington where she was beloved by the parishioners there.
Marie returned to Puerto Rico and would continue to minister there in Religious Education and Pastoral Care for the next thirty-seven years. During that time she earned a doctorate in Humanities from the Catholic University in Ponce.
Wherever Marie was, she brought her kind, caring and attentive ways to make any person feel respected and loved. Close to her family she shared in their struggles and joys, in everyday times or special ones. These included offering to iron, travelling together or even planning a honeymoon.
In spite of challenging health issues, Marie enjoyed life and was always interested in the needs of others, especially the poor and those struggling with illness. She served as Director of Pastoral Care for the Diocese of Ponce for eight years where she ministered to many patients with AIDS, serving on the Ethics Committee and the Nursing Faculty of Hospital Univer de Ponce.
During these past eleven years here in Brentwood, Marie was beloved for her helpful and caring ways. Interested in everything and everyone, she continued her ironing and wrote letters to politicians and to many of us to affirm our efforts and express gratitude. She would encourage others and in last spring’s edition of our magazine, “Focusing,” Marie wrote about her mission of prayer and devotion to Our Lady of Fatima. In her own words she wrote:
“Probably most of my current mission is that of prayer. It is a simple activity and becomes habitual. There is so much pain in our world and retirees can find a mission through the Holy Spirit in response to so many situations often right beside us.”
So Marie, we know you will continue your mission, close to your loving God and ever mindful of the needs of all of us. Thank you.
Sister Marie Teresa Jensen, CSJ died on December 7, 2019 in the 66th year of her religious life.