sister jean marie iadevito

(S. John Christine)
January 27, 1940 - August 14, 2016

Amazing, gifted, creative, private, and so wise.

Sister Jean Iadevito was a prayerful woman; an advocate for women’s education and independence, a good friend, a gourmet cook, and a writer of both prose and poetry. Jean loved nature, was an avid reader, and above all, she was an artist.

Jean was born January 27, 1940, in St. Louis, the first child of Joseph and Mafalda (Baccala) Iadevito. Two brothers, Joe and Nick, arrived later. Her father had been a shepherd in Italy, coming to the United States at age 18 with his own father who died after they arrived here.

Jean went to St. Agnes Grade School and to Rosati-Kain High School. “I was … able to have four years of art there, which was … amazing. Really the education in that school was tremendous.” Jean also attended Fontbonne for about three years, entering the Sisters of St. Joseph on September 15, 1961. She received the habit and the name Sister John Christine on August 6, 1962. S. Francis Rita Voivedich writes, “I remember her soft laugh and her gentleness.  Her artistic abilities were a great gift and when she shared them we were all so enriched.”

Her bachelor’s degree in fine arts/English was from Fontbonne College (1966). She earned a master’s in art from the University of Notre Dame (1971).

S. Jean taught junior high at St. Mary on the Hill, Augusta, Georgia (1966-1968).  Moving into secondary education, she ministered at Academy of Our Lady, Peoria, Illinois (1968-1973); St. Thomas Aquinas High School, Florissant, Missouri (1973-1974); and St. Teresa’s Academy, Kansas City, Missouri (1974-1988).

Taking a sabbatical in 1988, she attended Holy Names College in Oakland, California, earning a master’s in creation spirituality (1989). “I think I got in tune with myself there as an artist. I am an artist and that part of me is really the best part of me ... I am a creative person who can just keep moving around and seeing all of life.”

Sister Jean next responded to the call to be a presence at St. Joseph Interprovincial Novitiate in Denver, Colorado. There, she had the opportunity to concentrate on her creative talent. She also did volunteer work at CHARG Resource Center and the Gathering Place. After her time at the Interprovincial Novitiate, S. Jean decided she liked Denver and found employment where she had previously volunteered, at CHARG, which is a day center for the chronically, mentally ill. “I make lunch for them and I get food for them and so basically I hang around with them and talk with them,” said S. Jean.

The Gathering Place serves women and children. In addition to being employed by the Gathering Place itself, she was also employed by the Community College of Denver to teach at the Gathering Place where the emphasis on education, over time, became specifically GED work. “I am a great believer in education for women because I believe that in educating a woman you are educating generations ...”

 S. Marion Weinzapfel, who lived with S. Jean, shared,

She was so talented in art. Our house was a mini museum. Our kitchen had this huge celery picture surrounded by ... [Hope to see it again]—was it tiny people? And, in the living room we had a painting of columns inspired by Utah’s wind carved sandstone that morphed into images of the mothers of the disappeared ... She loved everything having to do with the new Universe story and read profusely.

In 2014, due to failing health, she moved to Nazareth Living Center.

“It has been an inspiration and my joy to live in the room next to Jean during her time here with us ... I feel her prayers and her warm smile from her place of peace and contentment,” said Sister Roberta Houlihan.

Helen Oates, CSJ

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