Entered Life: December 23, 1935
Entered Religious Life: September 29, 1954
Entered Eternal Life: July 17, 2018
Our IBVM and SS Simon & Jude School Communities lost “a wee bit” of its authentic Irish heritage on July 17. Sister Christine Gilsenan, IBVM, was born in Trim, County Meath, Ireland. In 1954 she entered the Loreto Convent at Navan, County Meath. Then, in 1957 moved to Phoenix, Arizona and began teaching at SS Simon & Jude Parish. She was an excellent educator, influencing the lives of thousands of students during her time in the classroom, spending most of her years at SS. Simon & Jude School. She also served at St. Jerome School, Phoenix, Sacred Heart School in Prescott and St. Mary’s (now San Francisco de Asis) in Flagstaff. Sr. Christine committed her life as an IBVM for sixty-four years.
She taught all subjects skillfully, but music was her passion. Her passion became theirs as she introduced her young students to all genres of music including classical, religious and just plain ‘fun’ music too. She was best known to accompany songs on piano or guitar. Sister Christine always brought great joy to guests at the convent when she sat down at the piano and played any song requested! A spontaneous sing-along always completed the party!
Sister Christine also introduced generations of students to the visual arts by bringing to SS Simon & Jude School the Phoenix Art Museum’s Art Masterpiece Program. This much loved program continues today through volunteer parents who carry on the work Sr. Christine began many years ago.
Sr. Christine received a BA from the University of San Diego and did further studies in Theology and Ignatian Spirituality and many at St. Louis University. She served as a novice director and also held other leadership roles for our IBVM Community through the years. We could always count on her wisdom and sound advice, as could her students, their parents and many friends.
She was quite involved with the Phoenix Area IBVM Associate members who recall her sharing Mary Ward’s charism, work and strength. “Sr. Christine, even though a very little woman was strong in her faith, love of God and all people. She was not afraid to stand up for her beliefs and had a lovely ‘Irish’ way about doing that,” remarked Mary Novotny, IBVM Associate and SS Simon & Jude parishioner.
Thank you for your love, life and wisdom, Christine.
–Anne Delaney, edited from Sr. Christine’s obituary and news article appearing in the Catholic Sun, Phoenix
The funeral for Sr. Christine is now available on YouTube