On the Passing of Founding Faculty Member, Sr. Jeremy
Let us remember . . . It is with a heavy heart we inform you of the passing of Sr. Jeremy Carmody, OP. Sr. Jeremy was part of the founding faculty of Justin-Siena and will forever be remembered for her compassion and wisdom.
Her time at the Home of the Braves was marked by much transition and change—most notably, the merger of Justin High School for Boys and Siena High School for girls in 1972. Her ten-year tour of duty on Maher Street included serving as the first Dean of Girls, then Vice Principal when Br. Richard Camara, FSC was Principal from 1974-1975, and then as Principal from 1975-1978. Just two years ago during the celebration of the school’s 50th Anniversary, Sr. Jeremy shared memories of those early, formative days of the school. Here are some of her reflections in her own words:
“As we were colleagues when Justin and Siena High Schools opened in 1966, my memories of Br. Bede and our nightly meetings in the Christian Brothers Residence (now the Christian Brothers Center—CBC) are fun to recall. In the midst of needlepoint, knitting, and cigarette smoke, we—along with Sr. Carol Quinn, OP (founding Principal of Siena High School), Sr. Theophane, Br. Richard Camara, FSC, and Br. Adrian—opened a school, developed courses, and developed a plan for the eventual merger of the two schools. Those were challenging times, yet the warmth of friendship and camaraderie in our mutual goals to be more for the communities we serve fueled our efforts and formed a foundation for Justin-Siena today. I was Dean of Girls at the time and Br. Bede was principal—a very giving, fair, and kind man always with the best interests of the students at heart. During one of those nightly meetings as I was knitting away, keeping my hands busy while we discussed curriculum and students, I remember Br. Bede abruptly saying, “Sr. Jeremy, why don’t you stop that knitting.” He was quite surprised when I fired back with, “I’ll stop knitting as soon as you stop smoking!” Needless to say, neither of us ceased, and he never forgot that story—often bringing it up years later. I very much enjoyed working with Br. Bede; we were good friends. As early leaders of the school we shared a bond. I remember Br. Bede, Sr. Carol, Br. Richard, and I making the rounds to various graduation parties—many in one evening. Taking a cue from Paul Newman and Robert Redford’s characters in a popular movie, “The Sting,” we used the ‘tapping-the-side-of-the-nose’ gesture to signal to each other it was time to say goodbye and head to the next party. Br. Bede understood that relationships meant so much and was always interested in what more he could do for the community. I learned much during my time at the school. It was a growth-filled time for me, and I owe a debt of gratitude to Brothers like Bede and Br. Bertram and my own Dominican colleagues as well as important members of the community such as Bob Zeller, who was instrumental in the merger of the school. I cannot even begin to describe how much he did for the school. I am happy for the years I was able to serve there.”
We often say at Justin-Siena that we stand on the shoulders of giants—and Sr. Jeremy is certainly one of them. The early leadership and innovative spirit of the founding faculty, who in many ways represented what we would consider a start-up mentality today, laid a foundation of excellence in Catholic education which we continue today. Thank you to Sr. Jeremy for being a pioneer in the history of Justin-Siena, and for your lifelong commitment to the education of young people. We are forever grateful. We hold Sr. Jeremy and all the Dominican Sisters in our prayers especially at this time. St. Catherine of Siena, pray for us!
A funeral Mass will be held Monday, November 26 at 10 am at the Dominican Sisters Center in San Rafael.