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Sister Jean Reimer, OP


Reimer, OP, Sister Jean formerly known as Sister Mary Ann Joachim of Grand Rapids (born in Saginaw, MI) died on September 11, 2022. She was 92 years old and a Dominican Sister for 68 years.

Sister Jean received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from St. Mary’s College, Leavenworth, Kansas and a Master of Science in Nursing from Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.

Sister Jean was missioned to Pioneers Memorial Hospital in Brawley, California and after training as a psychiatric nurse she served at Nazareth Sanatorium in Albuquerque, New Mexico and Valley Convalescent Hospital, El Centro, California.

Sister Jean worked in pastoral ministry in Mexicali, Baja California where she studied the Spanish language and was then missioned to Guatemala. There she experienced the 1976 earthquake and the abduction by the military of that country in 1981. She said little of being kidnapped and held prisoner for five days along with Sister Helen LaValley, as she was ever conscious of the need to protect those who worked for their release. Deemed too dangerous to return to missionary work in Guatemala she entered a Network Intern Program, lobbying on behalf of Central America in Washington, D.C.

Sister Jean’s next ministry was as a charge nurse of rehab and director of long-term care at Saginaw Community Hospital. Sister Jean returned to the Southwest to work at the Annunciation Refugee Center in El Paso, Texas, and later joined the pastoral team at Maria Madre de Dios Mission Church, Juarez, Mexico.

With the fall of the Iron Curtain an opportunity arose to do missionary work among the people in Russia. There she served in Vladivostok in a nursing/social service capacity with Sisters of St. Agnes of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin and participated in Home Health Care and visited hospitals where victims of an earthquake were treated.

Jean returned to Grand Rapids and worked in the Clinica Santa Maria outreach to the Hispanic community. Upon “retiring” she volunteered at the Dominican Monastere Ste. Marie de Prouilhe, Fanjeaux, France where she assisted at the guest retreat center.

She viewed her struggle with Parkinson’s disease as an opportunity to identify with those who have few choices in life. Sister Jean lived Micah’s words to walk humbly and simply, to act justly and love tenderly.

Sister Jean’s gifts for languages, her compassion, and missionary heart touched all who knew her. Vaya con Dios, Au revoir, and in the Russian language – do svidaniya Sister Jean. May God, and the angels, all you loved and who loved you greet you on this your last great adventure and first perfect joy.

Sr. Jean is survived by her sister Joyce Nelson, Mackinaw City, MI; sisters-in-law Margaret Reimer, Cincinnati, OH and Sue Reimer (Bill) Scott, Glen Ellyn, IL; brother-in-law James Sullivan, AuGres, MI; nieces, nephews, many friends and members of her Dominican Community.

In an effort to protect our vulnerable population from the Covid-19 virus a private Funeral Mass with vaccinated immediate family members and Sisters will be celebrated at Chapel of the Word, Marywood on Monday, September 19. Masks are required.

Burial will be at Resurrection Cemetery. Memorials in Sister Jean Reimer’s name may be made to the Grand Rapids Dominican Sisters.

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