Wednesday, September 12, 2018
Ana Rodriguez Soto - Florida Catholic newspaper
MIAMI | Vilma Angulo remembers Sister Jean Rosaria Fisch as having the interview skills of an FBI agent, balanced with the ability to make everyone feel loved and welcomed.
An Adrian Dominican, Sister Jean worked in pastoral ministry at St. Gregory Church, Plantation, from 1991 until last year. Throughout that time, Angulo said, she made it a point to register every parishioner personally.
“She would make you feel so welcomed and loved you shared with her things that you would never have thought to share,” said Angulo, who worked as director of religious education at St. Gregory from 1991 until 2005. “It was during those registration interviews that she found out if a couple needed to seek an annulment, to have a marriage convalidated, baptize their children, seek grief support…
“By the time the parishioners were registered, she had an overview of their family, what their personal needs were and the gifts they could bring to a particular ministry,” Angulo continued. “They always left her office signed up for a ministry and they probably didn't even know how that happened.”
Sister Jean died Sept. 8 at the Dominican Life Center in Adrian, Michigan. She was 86 and in the 68th year of her religious profession, having spent 58 of those years in South Florida. For 15 years, from 1965 to 1980, she served as teacher and principal at St. Rose of Lima School in Miami Shores. She then served in pastoral ministry for 37 years, 11 at St. Roseand 26 at St. Gregory.
She had taught at St. Rose from 1952 to 1953, and at Little Flower, Hollywood from 1960 to 1965. She also taught at schools in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.
Angulo met Sister Jean in the summer of 1991, when she interviewed with her and the late Msgr. Noel Fogarty for the position of DRE at St. Gregory. Sister Jean’s initial title at the Plantation parish was director of parish ministries.
“She set out to meet with every ministry, get to know them and their needs as well as their vision for the parish. Before long every ministry was a vibrant parish entity,” Angulo said, “and then she would see a need and create a ministry for that need. I often asked her if she ever slept or just invented ministries overnight.”
One time, seeing Sister Jean laughing and talking with some of her catechists, Angulo walked up to her and jokingly shouted, “Let my people go!”
“Of course that didn't work. They were also extraordinary ministers of Communion, led marriage ministries, youth groups, prayer groups, children's groups — all the ministries that she so lovingly coordinated,” Angulo recalled.
She said she will remember Sister Jean as “an outstanding woman of faith, who was Gospel-driven and mission-focused. How we will miss her!”
Sister Jean was born in Appleton, Wisconsin, and graduated from Rosarian Academy in West Palm Beach. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and a Master of Science degree in administration/school supervision, both from Barry University in Miami Shores.
A funeral Mass was celebrated Sept. 12 at St. Catherine Chapel in the Dominican Life Center in Adrian. She was buried in the community’s cemetery.
Memorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221.