Sister of Charity of Cincinnati Janet Gildea died April 4, 2019, at the age of 62 in the Sisters of Charity community home in Anthony, New Mexico. She valiantly endured metastatic ovarian cancer for 11 years. Sister Janet was born on Sept. 11, 1956, to Eugene and Carol (Suelzer) Gildea in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She was one of six children. She was a Sister of Charity for 36 years.
Sister Janet grew up as part of an active family of faith in Fort Wayne; her family attended St. Henry parish and she graduated from Bishop Luers High School in 1974. She first met the Sisters of Charity when attending the College of Mount St. Joseph (Cincinnati, Ohio) in 1974. During her years at the Mount she experienced the hospitality of the Sisters in sharing opportunities for spiritual growth and friendship while also discerning God's call. The call was to continue her studies in preparation for service as a physician, but hand-in-hand came the invitation to vowed life as a Sister of Charity. Sister Janet entered the Congregation in 1982.
Sister Janet earned a Bachelor of Science in biology from the College of Mount St. Joseph in 1978 and graduated from Indiana University's School of Medicine (Indianapolis, Indiana) in 1982.
Sister Janet's ministries included 35 years of medical service to the poor in Kentucky, New Mexico, Texas and a colonia in Anapra, Mexico; she would term it 'poverty medicine' because she preferred working in clinics for the poor in underserved communities. She began her family practice residency in 1982 at St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Covington, Kentucky. In 1986 she headed to Santa Fe, New Mexico, working part-time at both Villa Therese Clinic and a federally funded clinic for medically needy families. In 1991 Sister Janet became medical director at San Vicente Clinic near El Paso, Texas, and four years later she co-founded La Clinica Guadalupana for families living in desperate poverty on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. This ministry expanded to provide much needed assistance for children with special needs through the Santo Niño Project in Anapra, Mexico. She would remain at the border the remainder of her life, learning from the people about perseverance, courage, creativity and celebration. As Sister Janet shared, "They gave me Our Lady of Guadalupe and taught me to experience the Gospel from the perspective of God's favorite people - the poor. Serving her most beloved children I am learning lessons of compassion, advocacy, accompaniment and radical dependence on God."
For Sister Janet
from Proyecto Santo Nino