Monday, July 28, 2014

Sister Mary Evelyn Jegen, one of the co-founders of Pax Christi USA and the group's first national coordinator, died July 4 after a long illness. She was 86. A funeral Mass for Sister Jegen, a member of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur for 66 years, was scheduled for July 11 in the chapel at her community's motherhouse in Cincinnati. In 1982, she became the third recipient of Pax Christi USA's Pope John XXIII Teacher of Peace Award. During her tenure as national coordinator, from 1979 to 1982, Pax Christi USA's membership grew from less than 1,000 to more than 5,500 members, including 46 U.S. bishops. "Mary Evelyn Jegen was teacher and mentor for an entire generation of Catholic peace activists like me," said a July 7 statement form Tom Cordaro, Pax Christi USA's "ambassador of peace" and an author and lay minister. "She had that rare combination of gifts that set her apart from many others in the movement. She was an excellent theologian, a gifted writer and, most importantly, she was a strategic thinker and visionary. Everything Mary Evelyn did as a leader in the Catholic peace movement was strategically focused on her vision of making nonviolence and peacemaking an integral part of Catholic social teaching and practice at all levels of the church."