Sister Jane O. Small entered eternal life on September 27, 2023 at Homewood at Plum Creek, Hanover, Pennsylvania. Her funeral Mass was offered at Saint Joseph Villa, Flourtown, Pennsylvania on October 11, 2023.
Jane was the eldest daughter of seven children born to Donald and Mary Small in Hanover, Pennsylvania. The family were members of Saint Vincent Parish. Jane attended Annunciation School in McSherrystown and graduated from Delone High School. Early history of the Sisters of Saint Joseph runs deep in Adams County, Pennsylvania, and shortly after graduation from Delone Jane entered the Sisters of Saint Joseph at Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia. When she received the habit she also received the religious name Sister Miriam Dorothy.
Jane’s place in the family was to “take care of the little girls” (Dot, Kit and Mary) as her mother reminded her. But Jane was surrounded by three brothers (Jim, Bill and Don), and as her sister Mary recalled, “Her favorite pastime was following her father everywhere…and probably there picked up her ‘handy person’ skills.” She even had her own tool belt!
Jane’s early ministry was in education and she taught in parish schools in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Charlotte, North Carolina, as well as her native McSherrystown. However her skills and natural talents led her to forty years of service in areas of maintenance and management. These years included ministry at Saint Joseph Villa in Flourtown, followed by service at Saint Michael Provincial Center in Reading with the Precious Blood Sisters. After thirteen years there Sister Jane returned to her beloved McSherrystown, where she worked with contractors and the Adams County Housing Authority in building and maintaining ”The Villages.”
She enjoyed being able to join in family gatherings and trips. She was very respected and loved by those with whom she worked, and she was admired by many and recognized for doing what she was “supposed to do.” At the end of a day she could be heard to say, “Did I do enough today?”
Jane’s sister Mary shared that “right before she died, Jane asked, “What have I done?” And Mary reflected, “Jane, you’ve done it all. . . You let your light shine everywhere and in everything you did. . . Your joy for life has been contagious.”
In her words of remembrance Sister Ann McAdams offered, “God was waiting with open arms to embrace Jane as He welcomed her, his loving, faithful daughter. . . a blessing for so many in her own special way.”