In this segment Sr. Jean Michael Sauntry discusses her decision to become a Sister of Saint Francis at Oldenburg, Indiana, after surviving a childhood illness and her mother’s encouragement that “God has a plan for you in the future.” Sr. Jean Michael relates her history as a singer in musicals at Carnegie Hall and her persistence in writing letters to ask the Reverend Mother Marie Dillhoff to enable her to travel to Papua New Guinea to work as a missionary. After being accepted to the missions at Mendi and Tari, Sr. Jean spent more than twenty years teaching elementary and secondary education in Papua New Guinea. One of her fondest memories is teaching Huli natives the English language, and learning Pidgin English herself, in a country with such a vast diversity of languages. She relates how an experience working in a women’s prison prompted her to write letters to the local magistrate to aid in the release of one of the women who was falsely accused. She also discusses how the Catholic Mass was conducted in Papua New Guinea and highlights her 50th Jubilee Celebration which occurred on the island and was attended by Sr. Ann Vonder Meulen.
Sr. Jean Michael Sauntry
Mary Ellen Lennon
Sisters of Saint Francis Oldenburg, Mother Marie Dillhoff, Carnegie Hall, Papua New Guinea, Huli, Mendi, Tari, Jubilee, Sister Ann Vonder Meulen
Catholic Studies | Oral History | United States History | Women's History
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Lennon, Mary Ellen Ph.D., "Sr. Jean Michael Sauntry" (2014). Women Religious: Oral Histories of the Sisters of St. Francis, Oldenburg. 21.