Sister Janet Heiar, SSND, formerly Sr. Annette, celebrated her golden jubilee as a School Sister of Notre Dame this summer.
She made her first profession of vows on July 17, 1966. She earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education and art from Mount Mary College in Milwaukee and her master’s degree in child development and early childhood education from Wheelock College in Boston.
She taught first and second grades for 14 years, serving at St. Francis de Sales, St. Paul, Minn.; St. Michael, Morgan, Minn.; and St. John the Baptist, Searles, Minn.; and at St. Joseph, Raymond, Iowa. She transitioned to kindergarten teacher, a position she held for 32 years. She taught at St. Stanislaus in Winona, Minn.; Blessed Sacrament in Waterloo, Iowa; St. Joseph in New Hampton, Iowa; and St. Bernard Indian Mission in Fort Yates, N.D. She began serving as a pastoral associate in 2013 at St. Joseph Parish in DeWitt where she continues to minister to the home bound.
Sr. Heiar is also a quilting instructor at a local quilt shop.
“My most rewarding time came when I started a kindergarten program, creating thematic units for the students, using literature as the core, and expanding themes into all subject areas, incorporating field trips and the arts. Teaching expanded when I taught math workshops to early childhood teachers at Clarke College in Dubuque.
“My richest prayer experience was being a member of a faith-sharing group for the 23 years I served in New Hampton. Each gathering focused on the next Sunday’s readings. Through our frequent meetings, we mutually enriched each other as we deepened our faith. In my present ministry as a pastoral minister to the home bound, I bring my attentive listening to the elders of the parish, praying with them, sharing in family experiences and deepening others’ faith lives. Because God first loved me, I respond in love, freely choosing to follow Christ,” Sr. Heiar said.