In Memory

Sister M. Jamesella Mawhinney, IHM

May 5, 1929 – May 2, 2018

Jamesella Mawhinney, IHM

Sister M. Jamesella Mawhinney, IHM, of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on Wednesday, May 2, 2018, at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton, PA.

She was born on May 5, 1929, in Baldwinsville, NY, and given the name Mary Patricia. She was the daughter of the late James K. and Genevieve Doherty Mawhinney. She entered the IHM Congregation on November 1, 1950, made temporary profession of her vows on August 2, 1953 and final profession of her vows on August 2, 1956.

Sister Jamesella served as a teacher at St. Ann’s Elementary School in Nyack, NY, from 1953 to 1956.

Sister served as a registered nurse at the Marian Convent in Scranton, PA, from 1956 to 1963; nursing supervisor at Catholic Child Care Center in Hollidaysburg, PA, from 1963 to 1970; intensive care unit supervisor at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Carbondale, PA, from 1970 to 1981; director of nursing at the Marian Convent in Scranton, PA, from 1983 to 1994; charge nurse at Carroll Manor Inc. in Hyattsville, MD, from 1994 to 1997; and at Lisner Louise Dickson Hurt Home in Washington, DC, unit coordinator from 1997 to 2004 and charge nurse/supervisor from 2004 to 2012.

From 2012 until the time of her death, Sister Jamesella was a prayer minister at Little Flower Convent in Bethesda, MD and later at ­Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton, PA.

She received a Bachelor of Science degree from Marywood College, Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Regents External Degree Program, and a Master of Science nursing degree in gerontology/administration from Syracuse University.

She is preceded in death by a brother, Donald R.

She is survived by cousins, and by the members of the IHM Congregation.

The funeral will be Monday, May 7, at 11:00 a.m. with Mass of Christian Burial at Our Lady of Peace Residence, 2300 Adams Avenue in Scranton. Friends may call at Our Lady of Peace Residence on Sunday, May 6, between 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. A prayer service will be held at 4:00 p.m. Interment will follow Mass on Monday at St. Catherine’s Cemetery in Moscow, PA.

Memorial contributions may be made to support the retired IHM Sisters c/o the IHM Sisters Retirement Fund, IHM Center, 2300 Adams Avenue, Scranton, PA 18509.



Reprinted from “In Memoriam” section of Journey, Fall 2018 issue

Reflection given by Sister Ellen Maroney, IHM Congregation President

Sister M. Jamesella Mawhinney, Funeral May 7,2018

“The miracle is not that we do this work but that we are happy to do it”

Mother Teresa

Yesterday, as we listened to some wonderful stories about Jamesella during her wake service, these words of Mother Teresa captured for me the true source of her impact and also her sense of vocation and mission as an IHM nurse. Her love for others, her dedication to her call as an IHM and the profession of nursing, her commitment to serve others, and her ever-generous heart all came from her deep inner joy and faith in a God she loved deeply and unreservedly and who she knew loved her in the same way.

Jamesella touched and helped to heal countless lives and hearts by the way she lived hers. During her sixty-five years as an IHM, she ministered as a third grade teacher, a nurse, nurse supervisor, and director of nursing at the following places: our Marian Convent, the Catholic Child Care Center in Holidaysburg, St. Joseph’s Hospital in Carbondale, Carroll Manor in Hyattsville, MD, and at the Lisner Louise Dickson Hurt Home in Washington. For the past six years she was a prayer minister at OLP. In each of these places, Jamesella left an indelible mark of professionalism, joy, and kindness. It was not so much what she did, but how she did it that impacted us deeply. There is no doubt that she absolutely loved being a nurse. Her energy (someone remarked yesterday that Jamesella never walked – she ran) conveyed her sense that each person was a sacred gift in her care. Her generous spirit led her to the bedsides of her patients and her sisters at all hours of the day and night, even volunteering to take other nurses’ shifts at the nursing home during snowstorms when it was difficult for some to get into work. That graciousness of spirit and commitment to serving others was entrenched in Jamesella’s DNA. We heard yesterday how her BP cuff and stethoscope were always with her in case there was a need – even if you had just a slight cold! Of course, her love for her Most Holy Rosary parish in Syracuse was boundless, and she always kept me informed about what was happening there. Her first question whenever we would meet was always, “So what’s new at Rosary?” and always, she would answer her own question before I could say anything! I’m not sure where she got her information, but she got it!

Jamesella’s love and concern for others reached beyond her nursing duties. She was a wonderful caregiver, taking care of others before caring for herself, whether you were her patient or a friend or someone she just met. She was the first to volunteer to drive someone who needed a ride (though I’m told the passenger could often be heard praying out loud during the ride) or to do whatever was needed, no matter what. I am thinking today especially of her brother, Don, with whom Jamesella had such a wonderful relationship and for whom she took such extraordinary care, especially in his last years. They were devoted to each other. I’m told when they were together, they’d be having a conversation – and both would be talking at the same time!

We remember very specially today Jamesella’s parents, Genevieve and James, and her brother, Don. I’m not sure they or anyone else, including God, has had much chance to get a word in since Jamesella joined them last Wednesday, but I think we can all imagine the great joy in heaven at this reunion.

We pray especially for her cousins, Ellen and Patricia, her dear friend, Carleen, and all her band members, the sisters who shared life and ministry with her, especially those in Bethesda and here at OLP, and all whose lives were touched by Jamesella.

Yesterday so many remarked about how proud Jamesella was of her nursing profession. Ritamary said she was sure that when Jamsie met God in heaven last Wednesday, she began by saying, “I’m Sister Jamesella and I’m the nurse.” I found the following excerpt from a prayer for nurses that truly illustrates Jamesella’s life among us:

Let [me] not forget that nursing is
fundamentally about being with people
in need.
It is about touch … a listening
presence …
a willing and compassionate heart
that sees beyond symptoms and signs
of illness to a person in need and to
their community of concern.
Help [me] to embrace the charism that
is nursing …
to make it [my] own and in so doing
to bring your healing presence into the
lives of people in need.
A Nurse’s Prayer” by Jean DeBlois, CSJ

As we gather in prayer today, we know for sure that Jamesella lived these words each and every day, and that when she did meet God in heaven last Wednesday, no introduction was needed.

Ellen, Jamesella’s cousin, will now place the scriptures on Jamesella’s casket, for indeed she heard the Word of God, she staked her life upon it and received life to the full . . . the Word now beckons Jamesella home.

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