July 24, 2012 // Local

Sister Jane Carew, known as having the heart of a catechist, dies

FORT WAYNE — Sister Mary Jane Carew, who directed the diocesan Office of Catechesis for 22 years, died at her home in Fort Wayne last week.

Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, on Jan. 2, 1941, she was the daughter of Major Stephen O’Neill Carew and Johanna McKenna Carew. At the age of 17, she entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Martha, Antigonish. She made her final vows on Aug. 15, 1965.

On Dec. 8,1990, she transferred her consecrated life to the Ecclesial Order of Virgins for the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend.

Sister Jane graduated from the Catholic University of America with a master of arts in religious education in 1971. While serving the Church in the Archdiocese of Boston, she pursued a master of divinity and doctor of ministry. She taught elementary school, high school theology and was a director of religious education. Prior to coming to Indiana, she was associate director of the permanent diaconate in Boston.

Sister Jane came to Fort Wayne at the request of Bishop John M. D’Arcy in 1987 to be director of catechesis.

Bishop D’Arcy told Today’s Catholic, “The first thing that must be understood about Sister Jane Carew is that she was a woman of the Church. In the 42 years I have known her, this was always the core of her identity. Her contribution to the renewal of religious instruction in this diocese was enormous. A special joy to her was the number of young people who through her efforts became trained Catholic catechists teaching at all levels in our diocese. This could only have been accomplished with substantial aid from Our Sunday Visitor Institute. I thank God for her life and devoted service to the Church.”

Sister Jane also did extensive work in the catechetical area for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“Sister Jane Carew was, without a doubt, a leading expert in the field of catechesis,” said Deacon Jim Tighe, the current director of the Office of Catechesis for the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend. “Her love for Christ was expressed in her work. Her burning desire was that our catechetical efforts would simply be the best that we could do.”

“When I came to the Office of Catechesis, we spent hours together exploring the subject,” he added. “Her knowledge was only surpassed by her love, and her love for catechesis was her love of Christ.”

Janice Martin, who worked closely with Sister Jane in the Office of Catechesis from 2002 through Sister Jane’s retirement, said, “Sister Jane blessed so many people by keeping Christ and His Church close to her heart. She also worked closely with Bishop D’Arcy so that his vision of catechesis was carried out in the diocese.”

Lisa Everett, the codirector of the Office of Family Life and who served as one of two witnesses when Sister Jane was consecrated a virgin, said, “During what turned out to be our last lengthy conversation, the topic turned to consecrated virginity, and Sister Jane shared with me how much she loved these words from St. Ambrose: ‘I will be His, who first desired me for Himself.’ As saddened as I am by her death, I cannot help but think that now the bridal veil has been lifted and she beholds her divine Bridegroom face to face.”

Carl Loesch, principal of Marian High School, was a friend of Sister Jane.

“I recall very clearly meeting Sister Jane as I began my career teaching theology at Bishop Dwenger,” Loesch said. “When I came to Marian, she was one of the first people to call and congratulate me.”

“I am very grateful to Sister Jane for her friendship and support and her decades of service to strengthen the catechesis in our diocesan schools and parishes,” he added.

“The strong faith of the young people in our diocese is the spiritual fruit of Sister Jane Carew’s efforts to train teachers and catechists who know the richness of our faith and who can convey the importance of a relationship with Jesus Christ,” Loesch said.

Bishop Luers High School theology teacher Meg Hanlon said, “Sister Jane was a mentor and friend. She always did what she thought was best for the Church.”

Hanlon noted that in a recent conversation with one of Sister Jane’s longest and dearest friends from Canada — Sister Therèsé, who spent many years as a hermit — she recalled that Sister Jane said her life as a consecrated virgin serving the Church in Fort Wayne-South Bend, “was hard and beautiful.”

“The catechetical mark she left on the diocese will continue to bear fruit for generations to come,” Hanlon added. “She had a catechetical heart. I loved her, and I will miss her.”

Sister Jane is survived by two brothers, Stephen and Christopher, their wives Maureen and Debbie, and three nephews, Stephen, Paul and Daniel, all of Nova Scotia.

Mass of Christian Burial was Monday, July 23, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne with Bishop John M. D’Arcy officiating. Burial was in the Catholic Cemetery. In lieu of flowers please give donations to the Women’s Care Center. Arrangements were by Mungovan and Sons Memorial Chapel. To sign the online guest book, go to www.mungovanandsons.com.



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