Marillac High School
Welcome to the Marillac High School Alumni Page
Marillac High School was an all-girls Catholic high school located in the suburbs of Chicago. It was run by the Daughters of Charity from 1967 until 1994, when it merged with Loyola Academy. We encourage all Marillac High School alumna to contact us with stories about their experiences and involvement at Marillac High School. Below you can find a eulogy about Sr. James Jeffers, D.C., a former teacher at Marillac High School and a Daughter of Charity.
Reflections on Sister James Jeffers, D.C. by Sister Mary Beth Kubera, D.C.
Saturday, January 10, 2009 at Sr James’ Wake.
I met Sister James on September 8, 1972, when I arrived in Gulfport, Mississippi, to begin my postulancy. Through humor and her little maxims, she helped me cross over from chaotic college life to the more regular rhythm of being a Daughter of Charity. In that first year we lived together, in our 15 years at Marillac High School, and in the 18 years since then, James taught me some great lessons about life. I’d like to share them this morning.
Love you family! I understood the term “proud aunt” when I heard Sister James speak glowingly of Sarah, Charles, and James and all their accomplishments. I couldn’t imagine there being more joy than on the day in early 1973 when she got the news of James’ birth; however, I think that the arrival of Sam, Grace, Addison, and Jack probably equaled or surpassed that. Betsy, when James sent me a chain letter (in which she wrote in the margins-you know how I hate these things) asking me to be apart of a gifting process of you, I knew you had a high place in her heart, too. Sister James was a loyal and loving daughter--relishing a trip to the Cubs game with her Dad and faithfully trekking to South Bend to visit her Mom Saturday after Saturday. “Mother and Daddy” stories were part of her regular conversation. No one could miss that her two sisters, Monica and Judy, were her best friends. She recounted Judy’s teaching techniques enthusiastically and with even more admiration talked about the parenting practices of her little sister and her gentle husband Charlie. And, Monica, always her most respected and deeply loved big sister-whom she recognized as living life lovingly and loyally in all ways and being an example to her of how she wished to live.
Nothing is too much for the Sisters. In those first months in Gulfport, we could gage the level of transitional frustration by how many cookies, loaves of bread, coffee cakes, and sticky buns were baked on a given Saturday. James loved preparing a meal for the Sisters, setting a pretty table, planting flowers, grilling brats, making Dairy Queen runs. She would accompany Sister Cyrilla to the rose gardens to water when it was “wind still”; cross stitch special ornaments for her companions at Christmas; and drive hours to attend the wake or funeral of a Sister’s family member who had gone to God. Her own practice of being attentive to the needs of others came back to her in its fullness during these past several years as nothing was too much for her own Sisters to do for her, particularly as they walked the journey of these past several weeks.
Don’t just teach kids English. Support them. Help them grow up. Give them encouragement to find who they are and what they are good at. Love them. Sister James was a master teacher: creative, demanding, fun. But, she was even better at helping young men and women grow up. she watched millions of basketball, volleyball, and soccer games; drove to track and gymnastic meets that were all over the city of Chicago and beyond; enjoyed countless performances on the Marillac stage; supporting the planning of Charter and Thank You Days, Nuf-yads, Christmas dances and ICC events…sat for countless hours listening to troubled hearts…helping young men and women grow and find their place…and, teaching them through all the projects with Marillac House and Rockwell Gardens that all the gifts they had were meant to be shared with others who did not have what they did.
Celebrate life! There was no James who was more fun than James at a party. She loved making chili for the faculty Christmas party, grilling burgers for a backyard bash, eating pizza with Lucia, Harl and the gang after a Northstar victory, going out to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with her Irish buddy Kathleen Gramlich, and meeting for supper with Pat, Jerry, and Marillac teacher gang. She, Fran, Kathleen, and Sheila enjoyed Italian cuisine each Friday night. And, speaking on the phone with Anne and Felicia gave her great life. She went to weddings, ordinations, anniversaries…always with a handmade gift in hand to remember the joy of the occasion…and, birthday celebrations were always special… particularly James’ own 50th complete with Delta Dawn and a gang of people she loved.
Remember you belong to God. The rest doesn’t matter. James had a simple, direct line to God. She loved the rosary and devotion to Mary. But, the Eucharist was her favorite part of the day. I want to end with something she said at one of the last Marillac reunions that she, Annie, and I attended together. We were in the Loyola chapel and some of the alums were still grieving over the fact that there was no Marillac. This is what James told them. “We are gathered here around God’s table to remember. Every time we come here we remember what Jesus did for us…we carry that memory and make Jesus alive in our lives. It is the same with Marillac- Marillac isn’t a building – it is a way of life---you carry it in your heart…it will always be with you…” And, so it is with James…she will always be with us.