Jeanne Moynihan, RSCJ

Jeanne Moynihan, RSCJ

Birth: January 8, 1925
Profession: Feb. 4, 1961
Death: October 8, 2014

Religious of the Sacred Heart Jeanne Moynihan died peacefully Wednesday, October 8, 2014 at the Columbia-St. Mary's Hospice in Mequon, Wisconsin, after a long illness. Remembered for her deep faith, love of art, and compassionate approach to teaching, her life will be celebrated in a Memorial Mass on November 8 in the chapel at Sacred Heart Schools, 6250 North Sheridan Road, Chicago. Her ashes will be interred at the Society of the Sacred Heart cemetery on the grounds of Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart in Lake Forest, Illinois.

Jeanne Patricia Moynihan was born January 8, 1925 in Chicago to Frank A. and Helen Schadel Moynihan, the first of three children. Her parents and brother Paul Moynihan preceded her in death. She is survived by one brother, Frank J. (Bud) Moynihan of New York City, her sister-in-law, Karyn (Mrs. Paul) Moynihan of Milwaukee and her niece, Meg Moynihan Stuedemann of Belle Plaine, Minnesota, and more than two thousand Religious of the Society of the Sacred Heart around the world.

She entered the Society of the Sacred Heart on November 21, 1952. She made her first vows on August 15, 1954 and her final profession on February 4, 1961.

Sister Moynihan’s vocation story is a revelation of Providence. Following her inclination for service, young Jeanne got on a street-car in Milwaukee and, unbeknownst to her family, arrived at a convent and announced that she would like to join the order. She was told, as gently as possible, that they had been turning away candidates for lack of space. Jeanne got back on the street-car in the other direction and rode it to 12th & Wells, a block from Marquette University. She visited the library on the second floor of Johnston Hall to gather her thoughts and randomly selected a book to read. It was The Life and Letters of Janet Erskine Stuart by Maud Monihan. Janet Stuart was an English Religious of the Sacred Heart, an eminent educator, and Superior General of the Society of the Sacred Heart until her death in 1914. She asked a Jesuit she knew if the Society was still in existence. The rest, as they say, is history. Sister Moynihan celebrated her 60th Jubilee as a Religious of the Sacred Heart this summer.

Helen S. Moynihan, Jeanne’s mother, was a well-known artist of her day, and Jeanne inherited her talent and love of art. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in art education from Milwaukee State Teachers College. Her Master’s and Ph.D. in art history both came from Northwestern University.

Sister Moynihan began her teaching ministry at the Academy of the Sacred Heart in Lake Forest, Illinois in 1955. She went on to teach at several Sacred Heart Schools, including Hardey Preparatory in Chicago, Duchesne Academy in Omaha, Clifton Academy in Cincinnati, and Woodlands Academy in Lake Forest. She taught art history at Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee for more than three decades.

In 2001, Sister Moynihan wrote of her ministry, “I am doing what I was trained for and what I love. This is my place where I announce the Love of the Heart of Jesus. I show them His love by loving them and respecting them. … We explore how He has acted in the world, throughout time, as it is mirrored in the arts. …I can show them the sacred in their own lives, and He blesses this work.”

Sister Moynihan also served as education coordinator for performing arts at the Milwaukee Performing Arts Center and served as assistant director of public relations on the board for the Arts Development Council of Milwaukee County.

Sister Moynihan bore serious health issues for much of the last twenty years of her life, always with grace and faith and trust in the will of her God. She had a deep and abiding faither and was generous with her prayer for others.


Submitted by James Medrano on

I was honored to experience her as a teacher while at Cardinal Stritch University. I was fortunate to experience her kindness.