S. Jeannette Cochran
Sister Jeannette Cochran died Nov. 8, 2021, at the age of 83 in Good Samaritan Hospital, Cincinnati, Ohio. Sister Jeannette was born on March 11, 1938 to Paul and Rosella (Moran) Cochran in Marion, Ohio. She was the oldest of six children, three girls and three boys. She was a Sister of Charity for 65 years.
Sister Jeannette grew up in Marion, Ohio, as a member of an Irish Catholic family. She attended St. Mary grade school and graduated from Marion Catholic High School in 1956 where she was taught by the Sisters of Charity. After high school she entered the Sisters of Charity the following Sept. 8, 1956. It was the diversity and outreach of the Community as well as the intrigue of religious life that drew her to say ‘yes’ to becoming a Sister, a decision that matured in her with time and experience.
Sister Jeannette earned a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from the College of Mount St. Joseph in 1962 and a Master of Science degree in medical surgery from the University of Indiana, Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1972. She earned a PH.D. in health education in 1985 from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Sister Jeannette’s ministries spanned more than 45 years in health care as nurse, nurse supervisor, director of nursing, nurse-educator and family practitioner. While still in high school she worked in a hospital setting which gave her a way of offering compassionate care at a young age. It never waned! Sister Jeannette began her SC nursing ministry in 1962 at St. Joseph Hospital, Mt. Clemens, Michigan, first as a nurse, then as nurse-supervisor (1963-’65) and in 1965 as the director of nursing. In 1968 she was asked to serve in the same capacity at St. Joseph Hospital, Albuquerque, New Mexico. This began a lifelong relationship with the culture and spirituality of the Southwest and a natural tie to the ancestry of the Native Americans she came to value.
Seeking to experience more ‘hands-on care,’ Sister Jeannette looked to nurse education and supervision of nursing students. This happened for her in Albuquerque and led her to the University of New Mexico where the dean offered her the opportunity to teach in the graduate nursing program; here she was able to educate and direct a diverse body of students for 21 years (1977-’98). Bioethics became a special interest and offered her opportunities to challenge nurses toward developing an ethical decision-making process. In 1997 Sister Jeannette’s hands-on dream came true when she helped start a family practice clinic. She ministered in the Rio Grande Family Medicine Center in Albuquerque as a certified family nurse practitioner until 2007 when she retired. She came east to live with her Sisters in the Cincinnati Motherhouse in 2010.
Sister Jeannette would say of her life, “In addition to enabling a solid and fulfilling personal and professional life, being a Sister of Charity enhances a spiritual foundation, grounded in openness and adaptation to our world as I have discovered through the eyes of faith, hope and love. It has been a very rewarding life.” She will be remembered for her wonderful photographs of sunrises and her love of nature, particularly the birds.
Throughout her time in Albuquerque Sister Jeannette served on the Pastoral Care Team at St. Joseph Hospital. She was a volunteer at Nativity parish, Almeda, New Mexico, a team member of the Western Network leadership team and served on the regional SET Board. She felt privileged to work with and for the Native American people; she was inspired by their spirituality, love and deep respect for nature.
Sister friends Grace Catherine Aufderbeck and Annette Frey knew Sister Jeannette as a most faithful friend. “She was always ready to help when called upon; she was most generous with her time and talents,” Sister Annette shared. Sister Grace Catherine added, “Jeannette shared her wisdom with doctors, nurses and clinics all over New Mexico. I was blessed with her friendship and hospitality; she embodied the slogan ‘Hazard yet Forward.’”