Office provides ‘spiritual nourishment’ for local sister

WINTHROP — As pastoral associate at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Winthrop, Sister Jane Iannaccone, SP, touches the lives of many through her work — from visiting the elderly who are homebound or living in nearby nursing homes, to offering bereavement programs for those who have suffered a loss, to providing adult catechesis for parents of children enrolled in sacramental programs in the parish, to simply responding to people who come to the door for pastoral counseling and spiritual direction. “I see people in their joys, as well as in their sorrows — during their high points and their low points,” she said.

Prior to joining the Sisters of Providence of St. Mary of the Woods, Ind. 20 years ago, Sister Jane taught school in the Greater Boston area, beginning her career as an elementary education teacher in Medford where she grew up — first in the Medford Public Schools and later at St. Francis of Assisi Parish, also in Medford. As a young adult, she worshiped at St. Patrick Parish in Stoneham, volunteering her time at the church. It was then that Sister Jane entered religious life, moving to the Sisters of Providence’s mother house in Indiana, and remaining in the state where she ministered for seven years. She moved back to her native Massachusetts in 1990, teaching at St. Rose Parish School in Chelsea and returning to Indiana to profess her final vows in 1993. All the while, Sister Jane continued volunteering in the community, which prompted her to begin her pastoral work.

“I realized that God was calling me in a different direction,” recalls Sister Jane, who received her Master’s degree in pastoral counseling at Emmanuel College in Boston. She is now enrolled in a post-Master’s certification program in spiritual direction at Boston College to assist those she works with more fully in their spiritual journey.

To continue her own spiritual journey and to provide outreach to parishioners, Sister Jane has turned to the Spiritual Development Office in the Boston Archdiocese for support. The office, which is supported by funds raised from the Catholic Appeal, offers such programs as the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, Spiritual Direction and Cursillo.

“To be an effective minister, you have to be well-grounded spiritually and emotionally. Participating in the programs offered by the Spiritual Development Office feeds my soul and, in turn, I hope I can feed others,” observes Sister Jane. “These programs have given me the spiritual nourishment I need to be grounded in Jesus Christ.”

The programs offered by the Spiritual Development Office are designed specifically for the laity in the Boston Archdiocese as tools to enrich one’s spiritual life with Christ.

Sums up Sister Jane: “For those who wish to deepen their relationship with Christ, participating in these programs is an excellent place to start. The Spiritual Development Office staff has a good listening ear and generous hearts. They go out of their way to be of assistance to people.”

[Editor’s note: For more information about the archdiocesan Spiritual Development Office, call 617-746-3640. To learn more about the 2006 Catholic Appeal, call the Catholic Appeal Office at 617-746-5628.]