Sister Jean Liston-Comforting Presence

Written on: January 10, 2020

“Blessed be those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

Matthew 5:4


For 14 years, Sister Jean Liston (Sister Anne Louise) was the consoling presence to the bereaved members of Saint Andrew’s parish in Newtown, Pennsylvania. As Director of Pastoral Services, she reached out to those who were losing or who had lost a loved one, bringing the Eucharist, along with a kind word, a gentle touch and, if needed, a shoulder to cry on.

Now retired, Sister Jean still strives to be present to those suffering one of life’s greatest losses. She visits, calls, sends a card or a consoling note or brings a small loaf of banana bread, topped with a label, “Made especially for you by Sister Jean!

“Sometimes, to bring comfort to a grieving person, you don’t have to say a word,” she says. “You may just smile and listen or hold a hand. I often say, ‘I am praying for you’ and that comforts someone who is suffering in grief.”

“Saint Marguerite suffered so much loss: her husband’s death, the death of her four children and many painful life events. But she reached out to heal the suffering of others. Kindness is so needed in the world today! I can’t change the entire world but I can reach out to someone. I can just be there for them, present, attentive and loving.”

To read other stories in the Presence Series, choose from below:

Listening Presence: Sister Marlene Butler (Sr. John Marlene)

Welcoming Presence: Sister Barbara Harrington (Sr. Robert Francis)

Sacred Presence: Sister Donna Lord (Sr. Donna Joseph) and Sister Sheila Stone (Sr. Mary of Providence)

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