Obituary: Sister Genevieve Moran, SNDdeN
Sister Genevieve Moran, SNDdeN
February 22, 1926 – January 8, 2021
True charity has for its basis, above all, the spirit of faith. This spirit of faith makes us see, respect, love and serve Our Lord Jesus Christ in each one of our Sisters. The spirit of faith makes all souls dear to us, because all were dear to Our Lord Jesus Christ. (Saint Julie, Little Treatise of Perfection, p 65-66)
An only child, Genevieve Moran grew up loved by her Irish Catholic father, her German Catholic mother, and numerous cousins. An outgoing personality plus a genuine interest in people equaled deep friendships that added to her sense of family. Genie attended the local Catholic grade school in Chicago, where she was taught by Dominican Sisters. When it came time for high school, most of her class planned to go to the Franciscan high school. Genie balked at that idea. She could not see herself wearing that school uniform! Genie like the uniform at Notre Dame High School, so she persuaded her parents to enroll her there. That was where she met the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.
Genie described her high school years as “very happy.” Her father encouraged her to take business courses as she would need to get a job when she finished school. During her senior year, one of her teachers asked if Genie had ever thought of entering the convent. Genie replied, “Oh, Sister, absolutely not! I’m not convent material!” It would be six years before the seed planted that day bore fruit.
After graduation Genie got a job at a small real estate and mortgage firm. She began as a switchboard operator and accidentally disconnected one of the firm’s President’s calls on her first day. Genie would work in the insurance department, the mortgage department and eventually end up as secretary to the President of the firm. She would look back on those years as very happy, but as time went on she felt something was missing. Genie started asking God, “What do you want from me?” One Christmas Eve she heard an answer, “I want your love. That’s all.” Genie started going to Mass during the week and stopping in Church for a short visit during her lunch hour. After another year she was still asking the question and this time she heard, “I want your love, and now, I want you.” Genie would later say, “That did it! I knew that the little seed that Sister had planted in my head years ago had taken…and I knew for sure what God wanted from me.” Genie entered the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur at Reading, Ohio where, as a novice, she was given the name Sister Martin Marie.
After her first vows, Sister Martin Marie was sent to Calumet City, Illinois to teach 77 first graders. She spent five years at that parish and later said, “I loved my first graders!” From there, Sister Marin Marie spent eight years teaching second through fourth grades at Holy Family Parish School in Dayton. In 1965 she was missioned to St. Robert Bellarmine in Chicago to teach junior high. While there, Sister Martin Marie returned to her baptismal name and became Sister Genevieve.
Genie’s mother died quite suddenly while she was at St. Robert Bellarmine, leaving her legally blind father in the house by himself. During this time, religious life was changing and some Sisters were beginning to move out of the large convents into smaller settings. As Mr. Moran’s blindness increased, the Superior at St. Robert Bellarmine saw his need for help and the possibility of Genie being able to fill that need. She helped Genie get permission to live with her father while she continued to teach and live her vows as a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur. Genie would care for her father in his home for eighteen years, and after a stroke took away his ability to walk, she would care for him in a nearby nursing home for three more years.
In 1971 Genie was assigned to the staff of Notre Dame High School. She taught classes on business subjects at first and then was asked to serve half-time as the school bookkeeper. For six years Genie also taught typing classes in the Adult Education Program at nearby Wright College. Eventually, she was relieved of her classroom responsibilities at the High School and served full-time in the finance office. While Genie always saw herself as an “average” teacher, she was exceptional at office work. In 1978 her title was changed to “Treasurer” of the High School and she served in that capacity until her retirement in 1998.
Genie accepted the offer of a year-long sabbatical which she spent at a retreat house in rural Pennsylvania. She returned energized and ready to help in whatever way she was needed. The need was in Cincinnati as the Province needed to move a number of elderly Sisters and prepare two buildings for demolition to make room to build the Mt. Notre Dame Health Center. Genie was missioned to a small community of Sisters in Reading and joined the “Transition Team” responsible for packing and moving the Sisters. Genie’s organizational and listening skills, and her genuine care for her Sisters, were put to good use as she journeyed compassionately with her elder Sisters through the transition.
After everyone was moved, Genie was asked to join the Province Staff as a clerical assistant and receptionist. Her cheerful voice answered the phone and her bubbly personality welcomed people who came through the door. In addition, Genie filled the orders for materials about St. Julie Billiart, foundress of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. Always interested in people, Genie would remember callers and visitors and spend time asking how they were, often asking about someone or some situation they had shared with her previously. Genie became part of the Hospitality Committee at Saints Peter and Paul Parish, generously donated her time to work at the parish festival and visited parishioners in nursing homes. She became a good friend and Prayer Sister to many in the parish, and an adopted member of more than one family.
Like her father before her, Genie slowly lost her eyesight. She moved to the Mount Notre Dame Health Center in 2004 and was able to continue as a receptionist until 2006 when she took up a full-time ministry of prayer. As part of that, Genie had an extensive phone ministry. She called parishioners, friends, and family members. Genie would ask, “How are you doing?” and whether it is over the phone or in person, the recipient of the question knew she genuinely cared about the answer. She also welcomed members of her adopted families for regular visits.
In community, Genie shared her gifts of bookkeeping, typing, cooking, sewing and cleaning. She served on the Province Finance Board for many years and was grateful for the deeper appreciation for stewardship that she felt she gained from that service. Genie liked listening to music, swimming, bowling, skating, singing, reading and listening to books when she could no longer read. She noticed details and would complement a Sister on a lovely dress or nice haircut. Her pleasant disposition made her easy to be around and she was an exceptional conversationalist. Her Sisters saw her as a prayerful woman and they admired her ability to deal with years of handicaps without complaint. It would be remiss not to mention she LOVED cats! She later said, “It is a real joy to be living in our MND Health Center. I especially appreciate having daily Mass, opportunities for quiet prayer, and competent staff.”
Genie was interviewed for the Saints Peter and Paul Bulletin in 2001. At that time she said she had entered Notre Dame at the age of 23 and had “never ceased to marvel at how God has worked and continues to work in my life. With St. Julie, I can truly say ‘Oh how good is the good God!’” As her friends, relatives, and loved ones remember and celebrate her life, it is our turn to marvel at how God made His Goodness known to us through Sister Genevieve Moran. We give thanks for the gift of her life and sing with her, “The Good God is so very Good!”
Born on February 22, 1926 at Chicago, Illinois
Parents: Martin L. Moran (born in Genesee, Pennsylvania) and Sophia Wenzel (born in Germany)
Baptized on March 14, 1926 at St. Alphonsus Church, Chicago, Illinois
Confirmed on June 9, 1937 at St. Bartholomew Church, Chicago, Illinois
Entered July 26, 1949
First Profession: January 26, 1952
Final Profession: August 13, 1957
St. Bartholomew Grade School, Chicago, Illinois, 1939
Notre Dame High School, Chicago, Illinois, 1943
Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Dayton, Dayton Ohio, 1961
Master of Business Administration, University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana, 1968
1952-1957 St. Victor School, Calumet City, Illinois
1957-1965 Holy Family School, Dayton, Ohio
1965-1971 St. Robert Bellarmine School, Chicago, Illinois
1971-1998 Notre Dame High School, Chicago, Illinois
1998-1999 Sabbatical Ain Karim, Fairfield, Pennsylvania
1999-2000 Mt. Notre Dame Convent, Reading, Ohio
2000-2006 Province Office, Mt. Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Ohio
2006-2010 Community Service, Mt. Notre Dame Health Center, Reading, Ohio
2010-present: Ministry of Prayer & Presence, Mt. Notre Dame Health Center, Reading, Ohio