In Memory

Sister M. Jane Frances Dunnigan, IHM

January 26, 1943 – November 21, 2019

Sister M. Jane Frances Dunnigan, IHM, of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on Thursday, November 21, 2019 at Allied Services Skilled Nursing Center in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

She was born on January 26, 1943, in Weehauken, NJ, and given the name Barbara Frances. She was the daughter of the late Joseph and Frances Walsh Dunnigan. She entered the IHM Congregation on September 8, 1960, made her temporary profession of vows on June 26, 1963, and her final profession of vows on June 26, 1968.

Sister Jane Frances served as a teacher in the following schools: St. Rose High School in Carbondale, PA, from 1965 to 1968; Gaston High School in New Bern, NC, from 1968 to 1969; Most Holy Rosary High School in Syracuse, NY, from 1969 to 1970; South Scranton Catholic High School in Scranton, PA, from 1970 to 1972; Bishop Neumann High School in Williamsport, PA, from 1972 to 1975; St. Mary of the Mount High School in Pittsburgh, PA, from 1975 to 1982; Bishop Canevin High School in Pittsburgh, PA, from 1982 to 1983; St. Dominic High School in Oyster Bay, NY, from 1983 to 2001; and Red Bank Catholic High School in Red Bank, NJ, from 2001 to 2012.

She also served as assistant to campus minister at Red Bank Catholic High School in Red Bank, NJ, from 2012 to 2015; support staff member at the IHM Center in Scranton, PA, from 2015 until the time of her death; and office assistant in the IHM Development office in Scranton, PA, from 2016 until the time of her death.

She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in French/Latin, and a Master of Science degree in theology, both from Marywood College, and a Master of Arts degree in French from Assumption College.

She is preceded in death by three brothers, a twin brother, Robert, Joseph, and Frank.

She is survived by two brothers, Thomas of New Windsor, NY, and John (Jack) of Wilkes Barre, PA, a sister, Patsy Mullins of Virginia Beach, VA, nieces and nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews. She is also survived by the members of the IHM Congregation.

The funeral will be Tuesday, November 26, at 10:30 a.m. with Mass of Christian Burial at the IHM Center, 2300 Adams Avenue in Scranton. Friends may call at the IHM Center on Monday, November 25, 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 Tuesday 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, Spring 2020 issue

Sister M. Jane Frances Dunnigan, IHM

Reflection given by Sister Ellen Maroney, IHM Congregation President, at Sister’s funeral on November 26, 2019:

Take the time to love and to be loved;
it is a grace from God.
Take the time to make friends;
it is the voice of happiness.
Take the time to laugh;
it is the music of the soul…
Take the time to give;
life is too short to be selfish.
Author Unknown

These lines are from a poem, entitled, “Take Time.” After listening to the stories shared about Jane during the wake service yesterday, they are for me a summary of what Jane herself valued and how she lived her own life. I think she truly sought to “take the time,” or even better, to “make the time,” throughout her life: the time to be truly present to people, to listen, to enjoy friendship; the time to create laughter and joy for others; the time to help students learn French, or develop other abilities or to just encourage them; the time to give of herself for the sake of others – her family, her friends, her congregation. She took, or made, the time to give herself to whomever or wherever she was, and an awful lot of people are all the better for her “taking that time.”

For over fifty-six years as an IHM, Jane ministered as a high school teacher of French, Theology, and English in schools in four different states. She loved her students, and took real pleasure in their enthusiasm and energy. She was tireless in her planning and set high standards for the students in all her classes, but her expectations never blinded her to the particular needs of individual students for more time or patience or just an understanding ear. Her gifts of gentle concern and kindness made a lasting impression and it was that relationship that she valued most in her teaching, and for which her students held her in such high regard. Jane continued to share that same dedication and goodness when she left the classroom to become part of the campus ministry team at Red Bank Catholic High School in New Jersey and for the past four years when she served as a support staff member at the IHM Center and assisted in the IHM Development Office.

Jane’s generosity, goodness, and commitment were gifts to those who knew her, as was her compassion and care for those who struggled or were less fortunate, whether they be students in her classroom or individuals she met throughout her life.. She could never refuse a request for help. She was most grateful for any kindness she received as well, whether it was a ride to a shopping destination or her laundry folded or a simple card sent for her birthday– whatever the act, her expression of gratitude was immediate and genuine. Jane really enjoyed hearing the stories of others and sharing her own. Those who lived and ministered with her knew her as a person who never hesitated in giving her opinion, who said what she thought, though never with an intention to upset or hurt another. Celebrations and parties were always on Jane’s “to do” list. She loved celebrating holidays and special occasions, and especially when Kathy would come here to the Center to help outfit herself and Mary and Josephine too with appropriate hats and accessories for the event. The more colorful the outfits, the better. I think Frannie Rose mentioned yesterday that her one desire was to put one of Jane’s hats in the casket with her. Well, Kathy had the same thought, and so Jane has a hat with her!

Friendships were important in Jane’s life. She valued not just having friends, but more especially being a friend, and she has been that faithfully to many throughout her life, as we can tell by looking around this chapel today. That gift of friendship was shared deeply and faithfully between Jane and Mary for most of their adult lives and that bond has been a source of much joy and strength for both of them. For sure, it will continue to be a source of hope and strength for Mary and for all of us in the days ahead.

Above all else, Jane had an abiding love of God, and that love and commitment were what sustained and enlivened her through the ups and downs of her life path. Jane never took her relationship with God for granted, trusting in the mystery of God’s promise of fidelity and love to hold her in love and mercy.

We remember Jane’s parents, Joseph and Frances, her twin brother, Robert, and brothers, Joseph and Frank who joyfully welcome her home to the eternal celebration of God’s love, where there is no more sorrow or pain and where she now knows the fullness of peace and joy. We ask God to comfort her brothers, Jack and Thomas, and her sister, Patsy, her nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grandnephews, and cousins, her sisters in Emmaus Community, who lived with her, her dear friends, Mary and Josephine, her Band members, and all her family and friends who will miss her presence and spirit.

So as we gather around this Eucharistic table today, may we resolve to “take the time” to be examples of God’s love and care for others. As Jane taught us through her life, let us too be strengthened by our faith in a God who today enfolds Jane in loving arms of an eternal peace and joy beyond our imaginations and reassures us that nothing can separate us from that everlasting love.

ask Mary now to place the scriptures on Jane’s casket, for indeed Jane heard the Word of God, she staked her life upon it and received life to the full… the Word now beckons Jane home.

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