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Sister Jane McGowen's Vocation Story

S. Jane and Bernadette McGowen

S. Jane McGowen (right) after 60th Jubilee community party with sister S. Bernadette.

S. Jane McGowen

My parents living in Hartington, NE 1970 Mr. James P McGowen & Mrs. Rose E. McQuirk McGowen

Sister Jane McGowen

I credit my family’s love and goodness to each other as the primary influencing factor in my decision to choose religious life. I have ten relatives who were members of different religious orders.  My parents, James and Rose McGowen, were of Irish descent and were very devout Catholics.  Born on a farm near Laurel, Nebraska, I was the youngest of five daughters. Our family later moved to Hartington, Nebraska.

After graduating from Holy Trinity High School, I joyfully entered Sacred Heart Monastery in August, 1953. Professing monastic vows on June 29, 1955 I began my nursing career at Sacred Heart School of Nursing and Sacred Heart School of X-ray Technology in Yankton. I always wanted to be a registered nurse and was so grateful when that wish was granted. I earned my BS in Radiology at St. Louis University and a MS in Radiologic Science at the University of Cincinnati.


Back Row: (left to right) (S. Bernadette McGowen, Kitty McGowen Uhrich, Mary Margaret Sudbeck. Front Row: (left to right) S. Jane McGowen Helen McGowen Sudbeck. This picture was taken at the reception of S. Jane McGowen’s 50th Jubilee.

I’ve enjoyed my years working as a nurse, a health care educator and as a radiologic technologist in hospital positions in Colorado, Missouri, Iowa, Virginia and South Dakota. Looking back on my experiences I have come to believe that professionals, especially those of religion and medicine, have an awesome influence and responsibility toward humankind.  I am happy to be a member of both of these professions.

My Jubilees of profession as a Yankton Benedictine Sister have been by far the happiest days of my life! After reflecting on sixty plus years of Benedictine living, I’m grateful for the enrichments I’ve received in my life. I have a special love for Avera Sacred Heart Hospital and whenever I’m able, go there to assist with some clerical work for a short time in the mornings. I feel strongly that today, as many religious women work alongside lay people in doing good works, there is a great need to profess and witness one’s Catholic faith with a happy, courageous and true expression. I believe one good example is worth 10,000 words.

All things work unto good to those who love God!

Sister Jane McGowen



A few of my favorite people at Avera Sacred Heart Hospital

Benedictine Sisters
Sacred Heart Monastery
1005 W. 8th St.
Yankton, SD 57078

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