Sister Jeanne Pierre Mittnight, CSJ
Sister Jeanne Pierre Mittnight, CSJ, 98, died Thursday, July 28, 2016, at St. Joseph’s Provincial House, Latham. She had been a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet for the past 78 years.
Sister Jeanne was born in Brooklyn on March 26, 1918, daughter of the late Joseph and Florence Buckeridge Mittnight. Raised in Stephentown, she graduated from New Lebanon Central High School. On March 19, 1938, Sister Jeanne entered the novitiate of the Sisters of St. Joseph and professed final vows on August 15, 1943. She received a bachelor’s degree in English from The College of Saint Rose, a master’s degree in English from Fordham University, and a Ph.D. in English language and literature from the University of Chicago.
In the first 14 years of her life as a Sister of St. Joseph, Sister Jeanne taught in high schools of the Albany and Syracuse Dioceses. She later served for 18 years as professor of English at The College of Saint Rose. In 1976, Sister Jeanne began a 28-year career as teacher and chaplain at the Albany County Jail.
Sister Jeanne was an exceptional teacher of literature and writing. Demanding and compassionate, she motivated students to read deeply and thoughtfully. At The College of Saint Rose, she brought many innovations to the English Department: contemporary writers, European films and philosophical and psychological approaches to fiction. As department chair, Sister Jeanne richly mentored new faculty. She had a keen ability to see where someone's gifts would best fit, and she would encourage each faculty member to make a unique contribution.
Although Sister Jeanne loved her time at Saint Rose, she always had a deep call to be with the poor and marginalized. She followed this call by accepting a position as teacher and chaplain at Albany County Jail where she taught writing but also shared the Good News of Jesus with grateful inmates, many of whom thirsted for Scripture study and prayer. Sister Jeanne held this position until she retired at the age of 84.
Sister Jeanne is survived by her brother, Robert Mittnight, of Stephentown; several nieces and nephews and their families; many friends; and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by one brother, Joseph Mittnight; and three sisters: Florence Boyle, Dorothy Bessette and Kathleen Winslow.