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Sister Jean M. (Jean Francis) Byrne, BVM

Sister Jean M. (Jean Francis) Byrne, BVM died Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020, at Caritas Center in Dubuque, Iowa. She was 94.

Virtual Visitation and funeral rite of committal were held Friday, Sept. 25 . Sharing of Memories and a Memorial Mass were held on Oct. 1. Burial is in the Mount Carmel Cemetery.

She was born on Nov. 13, 1925, in Chicago to Francis and Anne (MacLellan) Byrne. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1943, from St. Charles Borromeo Parish, Chicago. She professed first vows on March 19, 1946, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1951.

Sister Jean ministered as a secondary teacher in Des Moines and West Des Moines, Iowa; and an elementary teacher in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Chicago, and Butte, Mont. She served the congregation as BVM Personnel Office director and Mount Carmel Archives volunteer.

She was preceded in death by her parents and a brother, Clifford Byrne.  She is survived by cousins and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 77 years.

Memorials may be given to Sisters of Charity, BVM Support Fund, 1100 Carmel Drive, Dubuque, IA 52003 or make an online gift.

Watch Memorial Mass and Sharing of Memories

Download Eulogy

Download Sharing of Memories 

This Post Has 9 Comments
  1. Sister Jean always had the most beautiful African violets when she volunteered in the BVM Archives. Every time I see an African violet, I think of her and smile.

    1. The best teacher I ever had. She taught beyond the book and made us think. RIP dearest Sister Jean.
      Kathy Scheil Pavlik ‘70 SJA

  2. I was privileged to teach with Jean at St Joseph’s Academy in Des Moines. She was a remarkable history teacher and a fount of engaging and perceptive conversation.

  3. Although I never had the opportunity to have Sr. Jean for class, she made a significant impact in my life while attending St. Joseph Academy and working the switchboard in the convent after school. She challenged me to be my best and to honor God by using my talents to serve others. I thought of her often during my 37 years as an educator. Thank you, Sr. Jean.

  4. What a wonderful teacher. She had a huge impact on my young life. I became so intetested in history and politics because of her classes and later I earned my bachelors in history and political science.. Rest in peace. Job well done

  5. Sister Jean was my favorite teacher. She made history come alive for me and I’ve been a history buff ever since. I loved her stories of her family and she was the first Nun I heard use the word damn. I’ve thought of her many times over the years. I should have reached out and thanked her in person for the impact she had on me. Thank you Sister, Rest In Peace!

  6. Sister Jean,
    What a brilliant & impactful educator, but she was also such an understanding & compassionate person. When I thought my life wasn’t worth anything and I was struggling in my adolescence, Sister Jean helped pull me out of a deep hole & guided me to new possibilities! I loved & respected her! I was so grateful I had a chance to see & visit with her in 2012 @ Caritas. Remarkable lady!!!! May she Rest In Peace!

  7. Sister Jean was more than a brilliant educator, she was a woman of great personal strength & integrity. She share her time, gifts & love graciously. She helped pull me and others out of dark times & inspired us to find purpose & meaning. I am so grateful I had a chance to see & visit with her at Caritas in 2012! I loved her! May she Rest In Peace!

  8. What does “Do Your Best” mean? What does “Love Your Life” mean? Those were always her words to me as a friend, teacher and confidant. I have spent my life being a grateful recipient of her unconditional love and living up to those challenges.

    As a teacher, students at St Joseph’s Academy adored her. She inspired, listened, challenged and laughed with us. She was “game”….camping out by the fire with us on retreats, hosting “news nights” at SJA when major events happened. Creative in her teaching, she developed curriculum on so many topics…Asian studies, Communism—which required her own text book be written—and Black studies, long before it’s time. We flocked to her social studies classes. What I realize now is that she was teaching the Core Values of the BVM’s. She made history a personal story in which we all had a responsibility
    As a friend, she has been a joy. Her visits to me in Seattle and mine to her in Dubuque have been a time of sharing our lives, our journeys, our hopes. Jean has always been so open about her triumphs, heartbreaks, disappointments and simple joys in life. She has inspired me to do the same with students, friends and family. That takes courage. And she has it in plenty.
    I became a BVM Associate because of her inspiration and those of Mira, Nancy, Kathy and Lori. My greatest gratitude is that Mira made her a part of the celebration…Jean’s cheers, my time with Jean. My life’s purposes started with her encouragement.
    My next chapter will be because of her.

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