Written on: February 21, 2020
Sister Jacqueline (Jackie) Weigle, GNSH died Sunday, February 16, 2020 in the 39th year of her religious life. She was 75.
The following words of remembrance were delivered by her friend, Sr. Eileen White, GNSH at the funeral liturgy on February 29, 2020
Today is Sister Jackie’s leap year birthday. We heard her all-time favorite scripture passage from Jeremiah and it fits this leap day funeral for her as well as it fit her whole life:
For I know well the plans I have in mind for you—plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope.
Jacqueline Rae Weigle, was born in Oil City, Pennsylvania, in 1944, the first born of Jack and Virginia Weigle. David and Cathy were born in the next two years. They moved to Philadelphia when Jackie was about 13, and soon after, Marcy was born. Jackie doted on her all her life. Jackie went to Cardinal Dougherty High School and that’s where we became friends. We graduated in 1962.
When Jackie was a postulant, she wrote to me that she was praying for my vocation as she walked around that circular drive we called the Rosary Drive. The irony was that I came to Melrose in September of ’64 and Jackie left in October. (In the dark of night!) It would take her almost 20 years to hear God speak those words to her again:
I know well the plans I have in mind for you.
Jackie worked at Bell Telephone for 17 years, rising in the ranks to staff supervisor. She made good friends at Bell, some of whom are here today. In the late 70’s, just as I went to Peru, Jackie began a mature search for God and for a more purposeful life for herself – a life of service to others.
When you look for me, you will find me. When you seek me with all your heart. . .
In 1981 she re-entered. She probably would tell you that she survived the formation program. At 37, it was challenging to go from being the evaluator and the boss to being evaluated and told what to do! For example, as part of the formation program, she was asked to spend a summer at the Gesu Parish in Philadelphia. She was adamantly opposed, but steeled herself to go to what she considered a terrifyingly dangerous part of Philly with people she didn’t know and wasn’t sure she wanted to know. Of course, she loved the place and the people and the Gesu experience was always a touchstone for her of God’s Provident care.
Another example of challenge was that the community asked her to get her degree at D’Youville. Again, Jackie resisted but went, and again – she loved Buffalo, she loved D’Youville, she loved the Buffalo Grey Nuns and she loved studying. She earned the Division of Social Sciences award for outstanding academic achievement in the Social Work program. One of her professors wrote of Jackie:
Sr. Jackie Weigle was one of the finest students I have ever worked with. She is insightful, thorough, and brings her life experience to the classroom in a positive way that enhances her learning. She actively and appropriately participates in class discussions and takes leadership responsibility both in and out of class.
Jackie made final vows in 1989. The Grey Nuns asked her to be the executive director of D’Youvile Manor. As you have heard in previous comments, Jackie worked with others at getting everything ready for the opening. She especially loved doing the interior decorating! Jackie served as Director for almost 15 years. More than 400 women and men lived there and loved Sr. Jackie.
Here are a few of the accolades the Manor and its Director received:
Jackie was an incredibly faithful friend and relative. She kept in touch with friends and family from wherever she lived and worked. She had an amazing memory and she excelled in thoughtfulness.
Jackie loved her family and enjoyed many joy-filled times with them and because of them. Some of her favorite times were at Sea Isle with her parents and a more recent shore vacation with David and Marcy which was mentioned earlier.
After Jackie’s assignment at D’Youville Manor, she moved back to Buffalo. Her dear friend, Martha Bisantz knew the pastor at a parish in Orchard Park and recommended that he hire Jackie as pastoral care coordinator. Jackie was always good with older people and had lots of experience, so Father Bill Gallagher gave her the job. After a short while, Father bill e-mailed this message to Marty:
Jackie is a gem and works without supervision. The old folks love her.
Jackie served for 14 years at St. John Vianney parish. She visited the sick and the aging, brought them communion, accompanied many in their dying, and looked after their families at the funerals. She provided transportation to seniors who belonged to Caregivers of Aging Parents and St. Vincent’s Society. For three years, she also served as a member of the Board of VIVE, an organization that provides support services to immigrants. She also served on the Committee on Finance and helped us formulate our Vision Statement and revised Mission Statement. As a member of a vibrant Local Area Government (LAG) group and of a Grey Nun intentional community, she shared life and laughter and prayer.
As previously mentioned, Sr. Jackie was famous for her beautiful notecards and handwritten notes. The gifts friends received from Jackie were never the kind you ran into a store to find. They were always perfect. Her niece Colleen told me that during some time in Sea Isle City with her and other family members, Colleen made a passing comment that she liked the duvet cover on the guest bed. Years later, when Jackie was managing the estate, she sent Colleen the duvet set. Jackie also saved and returned to Colleen about 20 cards Colleen had sent to her grandmother, Jackie’s mom, over the years. She also gave to me, some years ago, all the letters I sent to Jackie during the 7 years I was in Peru.
Jackie’s life journey was usually accompanied by music – especially classical – poetry and good books. She was really angry with WHYY when they substituted talk shows for the classical music she loved. She loved the seashore and the lake shore and had an eye for color and beauty. Jackie learned and kept a book of quotations from the poetry she loved. We all wish we had that book.
These last years of Jackie’s life were very hard – for her and for all who loved her. Many who knew her and visited her regularly felt that we had lost the Jackie we used to know. Somehow her fears of falling and further injury completely overcame her zest for life. Years ago, Jackie had a Transfiguration kind of experience when her favorite Uncle died. She realized then that love was really the only thing that truly mattered. In a way, she had then and again on the 16th a Transfiguration experience.
They were terrified. Jesus came to them and touched them. “Get up . . don’t be afraid!”
They looked up and saw no one there but Jesus.
After two years terrified to get out of bed, she told Bridget a few weeks ago in her delirium that she wanted to get up.
Now at last, she can.
Jackie loved a T.S. Eliot poem and I’d like to quote a portion of it to end this reflection.
With the drawing of this Love and the voice of this Calling
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, remembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
Go in peace, faithful friend!
Prior to entering the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart in 1981, Sister worked in successive administrative positions at Bell Telephone Company of Pennsylvania for 17 years. Her extensive experience was an asset as a Grey Nun of the Sacred Heart. Sister was Administrative Assistant to the Principal at Melrose Academy (1981-83); Assistant to the Social Worker at Gesu Parish (1/1983-6/83), both in Philadelphia. Moving to Buffalo, NY Sister volunteered in part-time ministries at Loaves and Fishes Soup Kitchen (1983-84) and Haven House Shelter for Battered Women (1984-86). For six months in early 1985 Sister was Coordinator of Parish Outreach at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish.
In 1988 Sister Jackie was appointed the first Director of D’Youville Manor, a Personal Care Residence owned and operated by the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart, in Yardley, PA, a position she held for 13 years. In 2004 Sister became Pastoral Care Coordinator at St. John Vianney Parish in Orchard Park; a position she held until 2017.
Daughter of the late John L. and Marion Virginia O’Connor Weigle, Jackie was born February 29, 1944 in Oil City, PA. Moving frequently during childhood, the family settled in Philadelphia by the time she was in eighth grade. Sister graduated from Cardinal Dougherty High School (1962) and received a BA in Social Work (1988) from D’Youville College.
In addition to her religious congregation Sister is survived by her brother David, sister Marcia Weigle Beck, and nieces and nephews. She is predeceased by her parents and sister Cathy Wissbeck.
Saturday, February 29- Redeemer Sisters’ Chapel 521 Moredon Rd, Huntingdon Valley, PA
Visitation will begin on February 29, 2020 at 9:30 a.m. followed by sharing of memories at 10:15 and Mass of Christian burial at 10:30. Burial in Resurrection Cemetery, Bensalem, PA.
In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Sister Jackie’s life of prayer and service will be gratefully received. Donations may be made on line here, or by mail to: Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart, 14500 Bustleton Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19116-1188. We are grateful for your prayers and support.
Services arranged by Beck-Givnish Funeral Homes, Inc.