Vocation Story

Sister Jeanne Francis Haley, O.Carm

I was born in Chicago, Illinois and grew up in Oak Park, Illinois. I was one of six children- three girls and three boys. My youngest sister, Jeanne, was a special needs child and we were a very close family. We always made sure someone was home to watch over Jeanne. My parents and grandmother made up the rest of the family and we were there for each other. 

When I was 14, I started volunteering with ten of my friends at Sacred Heart Home served by the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm. I always wanted to be a nurse, and I love the elderly, but on my first day as a volunteer I was scared. I was not planning to go back the next week. But along with six of my friends, I did return and my fears lessened as I began working with the Sisters. I watched them in prayer and lovingly making this building into a home. The residents became family to each other. They were cared for and loved and could go to Mass each day. In my senior year of high school, I still knew I wanted to be a nurse, but I also could not imagine not working at Sacred Heart Home. I talked to one of the Sisters, and she asked me if I wanted to become a Religious. I could not believe I said yes. But then I knew that it was the right answer. 

My parents wanted me to go to nursing school first, but I asked them to let me enter after high school. It was my oldest brother who talked them into letting me go. Later I found out that he only did that because he didn't think I would stay. Forty three years later, I am still a Carmelite Sister, a nurse and administrator of St. Patrick's Residence, our home in Naperville, Illinois. I have had many responsibilities over the years each of them related to serving the elderly I love so much. I am so blessed to be a part of this Religious Community and its Mission. We are a family- We pray together, each in our own way care for the elderly, and encourage our staff and volunteers to participate in our mission. We live together, have fun, and care about each other. My mother made St. Patrick's Residence her home for the last nine months of her life. She told me how loved she was by everyone who cared for her and not just her family. When she was going home to heaven, our family was so cared for by our staff. Their sense of hospitality and real love touched us so much. As my mother was dying, we held her hand, prayed, told stories and then quietly gave her over to God. This is our Mission. I thank God each day for having called me to Carmel.

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Sister Jeanne Francis Haley, O.Carm