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​Celebrating Sister Jane Ann Slater’s years’ of service to the archdiocese

July 12, 2021 | posted by Today's Catholic newspaper

Topics: In the Press, Vocations, Breaking News

Celebrating Sister Jane Ann Slater’s years’ of service to the archdiocese

A large crowd gathered at Sacred Heart Conventual Chapel on the campus of Our Lady of the Lake University at the end of June to commemorate the retirement of Sister Jane Ann Slater, CDP, from her role as chancellor of the archdiocese. She bid farewell after six years of dedicated service, but that is just the tip of the iceberg in capping more than six decades of ministry to the Church.

For many years of her life, Sister Slater spent her time among students, imparting valuable knowledge and important life lessons. Sister Jane Ann taught in elementary, junior high and high schools before earning her doctorate in Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Colorado. She then spent more than a decade as part of the Chemistry faculty at Our Lady of the Lake University. Later, she served the university as president during a challenging time.

In addition, Sister Jane Ann served on the Administrative Council for the Congregation of Divine Providence, and then two terms as superior general.

Before becoming chancellor in 2015, she assisted at Assumption Seminary and the Mexican American Catholic College.

For a half-dozen years Sister Jane Ann served as the chief record-keeper of archdiocese, overseeing the official archives with its plethora of historical documents and other religious treasures.

In an interview with La Prensa newspaper shortly after taking her archdiocesan role, she said: “I think everyone has stories and the stories we have really are powerful. Hearing those stories and providing opportunities for people to come together to articulate them in a way that helps deepen understanding and openness … I would like to do that.”

In addition to her role as chancellor, Sister Jane Ann remained active in COPS/Metro and was involved with SA Ready To Work, an effort to prepare people for high-paying jobs in San Antonio.

“I am not here to deliver a eulogy! I am not here to beatify Sr. Jane Ann, either!” Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS, said while smiling at the Mass of thanksgiving on June 30. “I am here to say ‘thank you,’ from the depths of my heart, for your generous service to the People of God in the archdiocese and for your honest and open friendship with me!”

The archbishop said that shortly after arriving in San Antonio he wanted to have a team of leaders in the archdiocese who would work together sharing in ministry, which is called “pastoral conjunto,” in Spanish. “This approach to leadership helps to fulfill the vision of the Second Vatican Council that we should work together in mutuality and respectful subsidiarity,” he explained. As Archbishop Gustavo looked for someone to move forward with the Office of Chancellor, a very important leadership role and one with many responsibilities in canon law, he looked to Sister Jane Ann.

“She had the experience of shared leadership. She had born heavy responsibilities with grace in the past. She understood, already, the dynamics needed to help the Church move forward!” he exclaimed.

The San Antonio prelate repeated, “Again, this is not a eulogy! It is a thank you! And one of the things I want to thank you for, Sister Jane Ann, is your truthfulness! You were never afraid to speak the truth to me and to the other members of the team, even if it was an uncomfortable truth! But you always told the truth in love! I always knew that the hard truths came from a heart of love -- love for Christ, love for the people of the Church, love of your own vocation, and love for the members of our team. In this, you have been an amazing example of how leadership can be exercised in a compassionate way, and I am grateful.”

The Missionary of the Holy Spirit told listeners that he likes to quote the Holy Father when he speak, because he is the shepherd and Christ’s Vicar for the living Church. When the pontiff was asked less than a year ago, in the middle of the pandemic, about the leadership of women, he said, “Countries with female leaders have handled the COVID-19 pandemic better than others and he has increased the number of women in decision making roles in the Vatican because they are ‘much better administrators than men.’”

The archbishop then laughed, “So, Bishop Gary (Janak), you will now have to prove that the Holy Father is wrong on this point!”

In his concluding comments to Sister Jane Ann, Archbishop Gustavo told her that he doesn’t know what the future holds for her, but he knows who holds her future.

“May you grow ever more deeply in love with Christ and his people. May your community be a source of strength and consolation for you,” he prayed. “May your heart be glad in the goodness of the service you have given. May you take a vacation!”

In a celebration social which followed the liturgy, speakers included Father William Morell, OMI, former president of Oblate School of Theology and a 40-plus year friend from Sister Jane Ann.