Leadership Conference of Women Religious

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January 11, 2012 -- LCWR Executive Director Jane Burke, SSND Dies

Jane Burke, SSND
Jane Burke, SSND

LCWR’s former executive director Jane Burke, SSND died at age 63 on January 11 after a struggle with melanoma.

A native of Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, Jane held degrees in elementary education, education curriculum, and social work. She was a teacher and principal, before going to Immokalee, Florida to serve migrant and season workers and persons living in rural poverty. She went on to serve as a social worker in community outreach ministries in Hendry County, Florida, before being named executive director of Catholic Charities in the diocese of Venice, Florida.

In 1996 Jane was elected provincial leader of the Balti-more Province of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, a position she held for nine years. She was instrumental in the birth of the SSND Atlantic-Midwest Province, reconfigured from three provinces in December 2005. In 2007 she became the national manager of Justice for Immigrants, an agency of the US Catholic Mission As-sociation, at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, before coming to the LCWR national office. During her tenure at LCWR from 2008-11, she offered strong and decisive leadership to the conference, with a great passion for its mission and goals. In her role she oversaw the establishment of two committees that are significant to the mission of the conference: the Contemporary Religious Life Committee and the Strategic Operational Planning Committee, and the initiation of a leadership formation project, now known as Leadership Pathways. She also saw the conference through the apostolic visitation of its members and the doctrinal assessment of LCWR. To all of her work with the con-ference members, leaders of the church, and the public she brought professionalism, great compassion, a gentle strength, and an unfailing sense of humor.

Since leaving the executive director position in August 2011, Jane underwent very difficult experimental treatment for melanoma. Although knowing the probability that the treatment would not be beneficial to her, in the spirit of her congregation’s commitment to education, she chose the therapy with the belief that her experience would contribute to the body of knowledge about melanoma.