This is the eulogy that my friend Jean wrote about a nun who touched the lives of their family.
There are those who open their hearts to others …
Who never think twice about giving of themselves.
They are the wonderful warmhearted people
who make all the difference in our lives.
I think this describes Sr. Jordan.
We first met when my 3 oldest boys were very small and she was working out of cramped quarters of the first Center of Hope building. Little did I know that meeting would develop into a life changing friendship that would see us through many ups and down in my life.
Jordan was complex
She was kind but not compromising
Brilliant but not proud
Strong willed but not impossible
She commanded respect without demanding it
She was outspoken but not verbose
Spiritual but not pious
Responsible but unpredictable
Tough but loving
She welcomed all without judgment
Always giving all that she had
She could coax a dollar from the stingiest donor
She could stretch a dollar better than anyone I know
She could make a meal out of others’ leftovers
She could organize a workforce
Rally a community
She summoned ones’ gifts whatever they were
When Sr. Jordan called – YOU CAME!
Sr. Jordan gave me one of the greatest gifts a young mother craves – encouragement!
As I was struggling with the responsibilities of rearing many small ones, she recognized my want to serve God by raising conscientious children. When I felt like I was falling short, she praised me for the things I did well.
She howled about the stories of calamity that happened on any given day: toys that clogged the toilet, when Angelo shot off the fire extinguishers, the peanut butter and jelly sandwich in the VCR. Her laughter was contagious and I would walk away chuckling instead of feeling drained.
She took the desires of my heart
fanned the feeble flame into a burning desire to do all things well;
To serve God in the everyday and the ordinary.
The relationship she had with my children is something memorable.
Gina will always remember her as the nun who swore on occasion.
She always wanted to know what new vocabulary words the children learned recently; what each of them were studying. She loved them as individuals. She challenged them to work hard and fostered a love for learning by her own example. My daughter memorized a particularly long poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow to recite for her but Sister already knew the words herself. Jordan had a way of commanding respect – not with a ruler but with her integrity. If she heard any hint of disrespect in the boys’ voices, she called them on it. What mother would not like that kind of back up?
Jordan was one of the wisest, smartest people I have come across. I have never known anyone who could talk intelligently on so many topics. She was always quick with a bible verse or a quote from a saint or author to inspire or instruct. No matter what serious topics we discussed, there was usually food involved and we always got around to laughing.
We were better off for having been together.
How many of you have had a similar experience?
Jordan lived the gospel message.
She had a way of drawing others together especially around the table.
She knew that a special fellowship developed when one breaks bread together.
She did not care what denomination from which you came and ministered to those with no faith at all. Those who worked with her in the various programs she developed were often changed. Those who came to get community service hours often stayed after serving their sentence. She taught us much about the judgment of others.
She encouraged us to work together and eat together. At her hot meal program, there was no division between the workers and those being served.
She stood for all things good. She worked passionately for the poor and was a champion for their dignity. She felt they should have choices like everyone else. She protested injustice and violence of all forms. How fitting this be called a Peace Garden.
Jordan was constantly giving but the greatest gift she gave was herself. Her physical presence is sorely missed.
Sr. Jordan has deeply influenced this community and left her mark on our hearts. Even if we do not possess the wisdom, eloquence, or intelligence of Jordan, she still is calling us to make a difference with whatever gifts we have; one person at a time.