Maryknoll Sister Jennie Burke, 92, Ossining

OSSINING, N.Y. -- Sister Jennie Burke, 92, of Maryknoll Sisters Center, in Ossining, died Sunday after serving as a sister for 72 years.

Sister Jennie Burke, 92, died Sunday, Jan. 22.
Sister Jennie Burke, 92, died Sunday, Jan. 22. Photo Credit: Contributed

Born in Nova Scotia, Glace Bay, Canada, to Catherine McDougall and Joseph Burke, Sister Jennie became an American citizen in 1926. She had three brothers and three sisters: J. Raymond, John, Joseph P. Jr., Mary, Catherine, and Margaret. Her parents and siblings have all predeceased her.

Sister Jennie graduated from East Boston High School in 1942. She entered the Maryknoll Sisters Congregation at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, on Sept. 6, 1944, from Sacred Heart Parish in the Diocese of Boston.

 At her Reception of the Habit, she received the religious name, Sister Miriam Terza. She made her First Profession of Vows on March 7, 1947, and her Final Vows on March 7, 1950, all at the Maryknoll Sisters Center. She earned two college degrees: a bachelor of education at Maryknoll Teacher Training College and a master's of arts degree in Religious Education at Seattle University. In addition, she earned a certificate in Creation Spirituality at Holy Names College, in Oakland CA.

After making her Final Vows, Sister Jennie taught for one year at St. Anthony’s School in the Bronx and was then assigned to Hawaii where she taught in various diocesan schools until 1970. Following this, Sister Jennie became Religious Education Coordinator until 1975 when she returned to the Maryknoll Sisters Center and worked in Mission Education until 1978.

In 1978, she was assigned to Tanzania, East Africa where she did pastoral ministry and Christian Community Development in Dar Es Salaam from 1979 - 1981 and served as co-pastor of Sinon Church, Arusha, TZ from 1981 – 1986 . Following a year of renewal at the Maryknoll Sisters Center she went to Zimbabwe and Mozambique in 1988. She returned to Newburgh, in 1989 where she served as Community Development Coordinator and as a teacher in Adult Basic Education until 1990. 

From 1991 – 1993, she was a caregiver and counselor at ‘Arche Home in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. In 1993, she moved to Detroit, Mich., as a special education teacher at Mangrove College Learning and Writing Center until 1999. She retired in 2000 at the Maryknoll Sisters Center.

A Vespers service will be held for Sister Jenny on Friday at 4:15 p.m. in the Main Chapel at the Maryknoll Sisters Center. A funeral Mass will follow on Saturday at 9:00 a.m., also in the Main Chapel at the Center. Interment will follow in the Maryknoll Sisters Cemetery.

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