Remembering Sr. Jean Aulenback – Nurse, Nature Lover, and Bologna Sandwich Fan

Saturday, December 2, 2023

We held a celebration of life for our dear Sister Jean Aulenback, who died at the age of 93 in late November. Read her obituary here.

Wonderful stories about Sr. Jean were shared among the crowd of friends who filled the Bon Secours Retreat and Conference Center chapel for her funeral on December 1, 2023.

Before the liturgy, Sr. Fran Gorsuch asked everyone to share their memories of Sr. Jean.

“Sr. Jean saved my life,” said longtime friend Sandy Clark. “I was visiting her here in Marriottsville and didn’t feel well. Jean noticed it immediately and insisted on calling the ambulance. I got to the hospital right away, where doctors found multiple clots in both lungs. My family was called and a priest was brought in. I asked them to thank my mother for everything she’d given me in life, and to remember that Sr. Jean saved my life. That was about fifteen years ago.”

Many people shared their memories of Sr. Jean’s time as a Nurse Night Manager at the former Bon Secours Hospital in West Baltimore. She was remembered as a person who demanded the best from her staff, who ran a tight ship, always thinking of the patients’ welfare. Before her death, she even picked out all the songs and readings heard at her funeral Mass.

Born in Nova Scotia, Sr. Jean was remembered as a true Canadian, an avid reader of National Geographic, an animal lover, bird watcher, voracious reader, and a big fan of bologna sandwiches.

An only child, she converted to Catholicism at 17 and said her final vows as a Sister of Bon Secours in 1965. Above all, she loved God. She loved her community of sisters. In her final act, she decided to donate her body to science, and her ashes will eventually be buried at the Sisters of Bon Secours cemetery in Baltimore. Below are some photos shared at her service, including her nursing degree found by Archivist Sr. Mary Shimo.