Sister Jean Francis Whalen, CSJ
Sister Jean Francis Whalen, CSJ, 88, died Monday, December 28, 2009, at St. Joseph’s Provincial House, Latham, NY. Sister Jean had been a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet for the past 67 years.
Sister Jean Francis, the former Anna Elonor Whalen, was born July 27, 1921, in Whitehall, NY, daughter of the late John and Ellen Brown Whalen. After graduating from Whitehall High School, Sister Jean attended The College of Saint Rose. On March 19, 1942, she entered the novitiate of the Sisters of St. Joseph, and professed final vows on August 15, 1947. Sister Jean received a bachelor’s degree in French and a master’s degree in French, both from The College of Saint Rose, and a Ph.D. in French linguistics from Georgetown University. Sister Jean taught for 20 years in schools in the Syracuse and Albany Dioceses, including 7 years at St. Peter’s High School, Saratoga Springs. In 1969, Sister Jean began a 20-year career at The College of Saint Rose where she taught French and linguistics. In addition, she taught at Mount St. Mary’s College, Los Angeles; was office coordinator for New Yorkers against the Death Penalty; was the health-unit secretary in the infirmary of St. Joseph’s Provincial House; and served a term as assistant provincial of the Sisters of St. Joseph. At the time of her death, Sister Jean was a secretary at the Pastoral Center in Albany.
Sister Jean Francis was a distinguished scholar, linguist and lover of language. Her brilliance of mind was complemented by a great heart that showed itself through a genuine interest in people and a deep respect for the dignity of all life. Whether Sister Jean was conjugating a French verb, advocating for alternatives to the death penalty, leading a prayer service for peace and reconciliation or discussing the consistent life ethic, she exhibited wisdom, warmth, intellectual curiosity and humility. Sister Jean radiated calmness and contentment, and she leaves to us a precious legacy of faith, love, enthusiasm and gratitude for life.
Sister Jean Francis is survived by her beloved brother and sister-in-law, Kenneth J. and Betty Whalen; her niece and nephews, Jean Carosi, Thomas and Dan Whalen, and their families; her cousins, Ann Day, Darby Seward, Mary Ellen Kanalley, John Smith and Jean Wolfgang; many colleagues and friends; and the Sisters of St. Joseph. In addition to her parents, Sister Jean was predeceased by her nephew, Richard Whalen.
Sister Jean Francis’ funeral Liturgy was celebrated on Wednesday, December 30, at 10:30 a.m. in the chapel of St. Joseph’s Provincial House, Latham. Interment was in Our Lady Queen of Virgins Cemetery on the Provincial House grounds. Contributions in Sister Jean’s memory may be made to the Development Office of the Sisters of St. Joseph, 385 Watervliet-Shaker Road, Latham, NY 12110.