JoJean Cavalli, SNJM
Reflecting on my life it is only right that I begin with the notion of home and family. The first grace of my life was being born to Gelsomina and Earnesto who brought me into the Stefani-Cavalli families.
This grace was nurtured by being raised as the third of four children and the only girl at that. All four of us children lived and learned the importance of family and loyalty to one another. Our parents were practical models of loyalty, respect, resilience to life and a sense of responsibility.
The second significant grace was my Catholic school education; St. Philip Neri elementary school, St. Mary’s Academy and later Marylhurst College. It was in the halls and campuses of these schools that I would form lifelong friends and grow to know the Holy Names sisters. These institutions became an extension of home.
After St. Mary’s, I entered the novitiate at Marylhurst and began the five to seven year formation that led to teaching in 1965 and final vows in 1967. Since this time of formation I had the privilege of serving as a primary teacher, elementary principal, secondary vice-principal, and Professor-Supervisor at the University of Portland’s school of Education.
One of my favorite ministries began while I was at the University of Portland in 1991. ‘On the side’ I began Heartways. This was an education consulting ministry designed to support the catechist (faith teacher) whether they be; parent, Catholic school teacher or parish religion teacher. Working with teachers and in teacher education was personally and professionally rewarding.
In 2010 I ‘retired’ from formal ministry in order to pursue volunteerism that would be more compatible with personal interests, grace and moving into ‘older’ years. This has been a time of more reflection and solitude. I understand retirement as a time to honor the contemplative dimension as our life as women religious. Truly a time to know the Deeper Home within all of us. In 2011 I was able to live with the Trappistine nuns of the Redwoods in California. I ‘became a member’ of this community by sharing their contemplative life in its daily rhythm of work, prayer and solitude.
Currently I am volunteering at OHSU where I find delight in giving comfort to babies born with physical limitations. I am also enjoying art classes, visiting family and friends and on occasion taking opportunities to travel.
As you can see the ‘homes’ of my life have been the contest of God’s invitation to be a sister. Most of all I am most grateful for God’s gift of life that has given me the gift of home-living for 50…plus years.