Sr. John Says Feature Part 2: The Origins of Sr. John Says

Rachael Eyler


Photo credit/ Rachael Eyler

Amanda Duncklee, Community Editor

This article is the second installment of a three-piece feature about Sr. John, IHM, assistant director of Campus Ministry. This portion revolves around Sr. John’s column, the origins of Sr. John Says and what Sr. John learns from the Marywood students.
Sr. John Says is a popular column in the Community section of The Wood Word in which Sr. John offers her insights, thoughts and advice to students, as well as members of the Marywood community.

Each piece has a different topic, and there are usually three articles per semester. The Wood Word Community Editor thinks of a topic for Sr. John to write about and once the article has gone through standard revisions, the piece is published.

According to Sr. John, the column has existed for about eight years.

“There was something on SNL [Saturday Night Live] that was called ‘Deep Thoughts,’” said Sr. John. “We had a variety show [at Marywood] and I did a skit called ‘Deep Thoughts by Sr. John,’ and people liked it.”

According to Sr. John, Ann Williams, director of alumni engagement and former faculty moderator of The Wood Word, suggested that Sr. John write a column based on the skit.

Though her articles have been a popular portion of the Community section, Sr. John remains humble about her success.

“I try to put in … a moral, or some good advice, and I guess I’m surprised people read it,” said Sr. John. “I’m happy to [write], I love doing it.”

Though Sr. John often gives advice, she is more than willing to learn from others: specifically, the students at Marywood.

“I’ve learned so much from students,” said Sr. John. “Students are so open and honest … I know I’ve grown more in the last 30 years here, working at Marywood, than I have in my whole life.”

Sr. John works with people on the Search Retreat and serves as a pastoral counselor, which is someone in a religious order who counsels others by using modern practices and religious tradition. She said she is moved by the “honesty and openness and vulnerability of students.”

“[Students] openness and honesty have really taught me how to be human,” said Sr. John. “To me, that’s the most important thing we can learn how to be, to be vulnerable with each other.”

Sr. John furthered her admiration for students’ vulnerability by acknowledging that she herself is “broken” and that this fact is not something to fear or ignore.

“We’re all broken, and we all pretend we have it together, and we don’t. We spend so much time and energy trying to pretend we have it together, and for no purpose,” said Sr. John. “I mean, to be honest about [being broken], it’s so freeing. We should stop wasting time trying to be perfect.”

Contact the writer: [email protected]
Twitter: @ADuncklee_TWW