Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Death of Sister Jean Vianney - Obit

Dominican Sister of Peace Jean Vianney Norris (89) died on December 27, 2015, at Sansbury Care Center, St. Catharine, Kentucky.

She was born in Jamaica, NY on April 11, 1926 to Bartholomew and Letitia Cogin Norris. A Dominican for 69 years, Sr. Jean earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology/Chemistry/Math from DePaul University (Chicago, IL) and a Master’s of Science in Teaching in Biology/Secondary Education from Boston College (Chestnut Hill, MA). She ministered as a teacher at St. Mary (McQuady, KY); St. Louis Bertrand (Louisville, KY); St. Bartholomew (Chicago, IL); St. Michael (Orland Park, IL); SS. Simon and Jude (Louisville, KY); SS. Simon and Jude (Brooklyn, NY); St. John Berchman (Chicago, IL); N. Cambridge Catholic High School (Cambridge, MA); St. Patrick High School (Charlestown, MA); Pope John XXIII High School (Everett, MA). Sister later became an Educational TV Consultant for the Diocesan Educational Office in Charlestown, MA. In 1997, Sister Jean was a Pastoral Team Member in Charlestown, MA.

In 2003, Sister moved to St. Catharine Motherhouse, St. Catharine, KY and provided community service. In 2006, she began a ministry of prayer at Sansbury Care Center, St. Catharine, KY.

Sr. Jean enjoyed painting, especially flowers and nature. Her paintings grace the hallways at Sansbury Care Center. She was a member of the Dominican Institute of the Arts.

Sr. Maureen Flanagan remembers Sr. Jean as “a woman with many hats.” She loved the classics and was an avid reader. For seven years she took a class of students to Europe and shared her love of art, music and the classics with her students.

Sr. Paschala Noonan said that Sr. Jean could have had a successful career as an artist, travel agent, seamstress or dress designer. Instead she spent 53 years teaching in country grammar schools and city high schools.

Sr. Jean recounted her teaching debut in a two-room school in McQuady, KY. “Life in McQuady was a culture shock,” the native New Yorker said. “No indoor plumbing, no central heating, no nearby stores. For three years I made a weekly seven-mile walk to get groceries. Meat was a luxury. From the children I learned how to manage a pot-belly stove, how to teach four grades in one room, and how to call a school holiday when the creek overflowed and the outhouses floated.”

Sr. Jean is survived by several nephews and one niece.

The visitation begins at 3pm, Wednesday, January 6, at the Sansbury Care Center Chapel. The funeral will be held at 10:30am, Thursday, January 7, at Sansbury Care Center Chapel. Burial will be at the St. Catharine Motherhouse cemetery.

Memorial gifts in Sr. Jean’s memory may be sent to Dominican Sisters of Peace, Office of Mission Advancement, 2320 Airport Dr, Columbus, OH 43219-2098. To make a secure online donation or to view a full obituary, please visit