Sister Alice Meenan, MM

Born: June 11, 1915
Entered: July 5, 1936
Died: December 26, 2006

Sister Alice Meehan died quietly at Maryknoll Residential Care IV at 5:30 a.m. on Tuesday, December 26, 2006.

Alice Meenan was born on June 11, 1915, in Forest Hills, Long Island, N.Y., the fourth of six children of John Meenan and Margaret Conlon Meenan, both originally from Northern Ireland. She had five siblings: two brothers, John and Daniel, and three sisters, Margaret, Miriam and Joan.

Alice graduated from St. Agnes Academy in 1932 and then attended Manhattanville College in New York City, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology in 1936. While in college Alice had decided to enter Maryknoll and her entrance date was deferred to July 5, 1936, to give her time to ready herself following college graduation. Upon Reception in Maryknoll, she received the name Sister Miriam Joan. Sister made First Profession of Vows on January 6, 1939 and Final Profession of Vows on the same day in 1942. During her formation years, Alice felt drawn to the contemplative life and in 1940 Mother Mary Joseph assigned her to the Cloister where she was given the name Sister Miriam Joan of the Precious Blood. She was in the Cloister for 27 years and served as Assistant Superior for three years, Superior for six, and Assistant again for another three years.

Sister Alice left the Cloister in March 1967 taking her contemplative training and experience to the active apostolate. In the immediate period that followed, she returned to Manhattanville, Purchase, NY and earned a Masters in Liberal Studies and Theology in 1970. She joined the Maryknoll Sisters Eastern U.S. Region and for two years participated in different Houses of Prayer and in organizing a renewal program in Topsfield, MA, for Maryknoll Sisters.

In 1973 and 1974 she lived in Dobbs Ferry while serving as full-time Coordinator of the Eastern U.S. Region, contributing greatly to the definition of the re-structured Region and building a sense of community among the Sisters. She took her love for the Eastern Region into her retirement years when it became her Prayer Ministry.

When Alice was finishing her term of office as Regional Coordinator in the summer of 1974, she took a Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) quarter at the Central Islip Psychiatric Hospital in preparation for her next ministry. In 1975 she moved to Houston, Texas, where she served in social ministry at St. Anne’s Parish for two years and Assumption Parish for two years. She then joined the newly founded parish of Christ the Good Shepherd in Spring, Texas, where she remained until retiring to Maryknoll, New York, in 2001. In this parish ministry, Alice continued to update herself earning certificates in Adult Bible from Biblical Andragogy Clinic, in Spiritual Development from the Cenacle, and in extended Clinical Pastoral Education at Ben Taub General Hospital in Houston, where she is said to have become a part of the history of the Chaplaincy Program.

The factual, historical information of Alice’s life reveals a life of deep purpose and spirituality, characterized by a quiet exercise of leadership and a pioneering spirit. Her vision and sense of values are evident in her love for Maryknoll and in the surprise of her life choices, from her decision in 1932 to earn a college degree in a field which was only then opening up to women, to entering a missionary community and becoming a contemplative, to returning to the active apostolate with a whole new desire and understanding of ministering to God’s people.

In the creation and development of Christ the Good Shepherd Parish, in Spring, Texas, Alice seemed to discover a crowning moment and a very fulfilling period of her lifetime of service. Her realization of partnership in ministry and her ability to counsel others and transmit a profound experience of God that led to a social outreach to others have left a lasting mark in the parish that grew to have 4,000 parishioners. Fr. Edward Abell, pastor of the parish at that time, called yesterday to express his condolences. He agreed with Alice that he, too, always thought of their work in terms of partnership. He marveled at Alice’s theology and told how the people in the parish instantly loved her and were reluctant to let her go.

We extend our condolences to Sister Alice’s extended family, to the Sisters of the Eastern Region and the Contemplative Community, to the staff and Sisters in Residential Care, and to her many friends, particularly those in Texas. We know that Sister played an important part in your lives and that you will miss her.

We welcome Maryknoll Father Ernest Lukaschek who will preside at our Liturgy of Christian Burial.