Sr. Jane Morrissey, SSJ, named a Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace in 2022, has published a memoir of her life as a religious sister and as an advocate for justice. “Finding Jane in the Box” is available for sale on; all proceeds go to the Sisters of St. Joseph, the religious community that Sr. Jane joined 60 years ago.

Matt Conway wrote in The Reminder, a newspaper covering Westfield MA, Sr. Jane’s hometown: “Morrissey … recalls traveling to New York City as a youth, when she was presented with the idea of being part of the [Sisters of St. Joseph] while weighing her future opportunities. Morrissey ultimately felt compelled to embrace the religious life as a way to give back to people in need.

“’I think I know with certainty now that this is the life God wanted me to lead. Like most of the choices we make in life, we make them one day at a time and go on a certain path. If we are honest with ourselves, we know if it fits. This certainly fit for me,’ said Morrissey.

Cori Urban wrote for The Republic: “Morrissey decided to enter the Sisters of St. Joseph just as Vatican II was opening in Rome. ‘Pope John XXIII’s opening the windows of my Church to our world expanded my understanding of what our world is,’ she said. ‘Over the past 50-plus years Karl Barth’s instruction that we walk through life with the Sacred Scriptures in one hand and the newspaper in the other became advice that changed my ways of living.”’

Sr. Jane was a founder of the Gray House, a Springfield MA nonprofit that provides food, clothing and education resources. She has served as the justice and peace coordinator and as president of her community, and earned a doctorate in English from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

“Morrissey started focusing on her memoir as she transitioned away from academia and her role at the Gray House,” wrote Conway. “When leaving the Gray House, she began packing away her things when a box of journals and old term papers she wrote was discovered. Morrissey initially planned to throw away the box before a staff member of the Gray House informed her of the box’s potential significance.

“’He said, “Sister Jane, are you sure that you want this to go to the rubbish?”’ she recalled … [She] used the recovered artifacts and her extensive experience in literature as fuel for writing her memoir. She also participated in a writing group that gave her encouragement on her reflections on life and service.”

“Like everyone, Morrissey has had ups and downs in life,” wrote Urban. “’I have struggled to understand and accept what I believe to be God’s will for me and to do so in the context of community life. I have overcome these by understanding that “God holds His secrets in a box/the key to which is paradox,”’ she said. ‘I’ve learned to consider what I perceive as contradiction to be an invitation to listen deeply and over time before making decisions in life-altering matters.’”

Use this link to purchase your copy of “Finding Jane in the Box.”

One thought on ““Finding Jane in the Box,” a new memoir by Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace Jane Morrissey

  1. This sounds like a good memoir/Bildungsroman Sister/Dr.
    Morrissey and shall request our librarian to purchase it for our public university library. Kudos!
    David-Ross Gerling, PhD

Leave a Reply