By: Sister Jamesine
I am a blood sister of Sister Jane Marie Lamb, founder of Share. I am amazed at the enormous gift my little sister has given to our world. We were a large family growing up on a farm in Missouri. Our early education was in a small school with one room that held all eight grades together with one person teaching.
Sister Jane Marie knew from an early age that God was calling her to become a religious sister. What she did not know was that she would become a nurse; she thought she might be given housekeeping responsibilities. She has always been a loving and compassionate person, so nursing provided a great opportunity for her to share those gifts in her ministry. She quickly recognized the joy of reaching out to the sick and poor of our world, and she especially liked working with parents and children.
Back in the 70’s, she was approached by some parents telling her she had to do something to help them with their grief after losing their baby. This touched her deeply, and she responded immediately by listening and comforting in her compassionate way. She knew she had to do more.
In 1977, she was transferred to St. John’s Hospital in Springfield, Illinois to minister in Pastoral Care. The hospital administrator provided an office for her with in kind supplies for her to organize the Share support system. She did most of it alone with the help of a couple of friends and some bereaved parents volunteering to assist. At the same time, she began sharing her insights and experience with medical and other professionals who cared for grieving parents, but knew very little or nothing about meeting their needs.
Sister Jane Marie began providing education on perinatal loss and bereavement to hospitals, seminaries, nursing schools and universities in the area. She was not timid in approaching those who could be of help in all aspects involving the death of an infant such as undertakers, teaching them to provide burial with dignity.
Sometime later, Ann Landers published a column about Share’s helpful services. The response was so overwhelming that more help was needed and a secretary was employed to help with communications and outreach.
Sister Jane Marie put her whole heart and soul into her ministry with grieving parents and others. Many of the wonderful, loving services presently available around perinatal losses today were initiated by her. She loved listening to and comforting grieving parents.
As the foundation grew around this country and internationally, the administration and fund raising demands also grew, so that she had little time for direct relating to grieving parents. She knew it was the time to pass this responsibility to another caring, compassionate and capable person.
In December of 2004, she was diagnosed with lung cancer. She lived for two months. During those days, she spent most of her time speaking with family and friends near and far away to tell them good-bye. This was a peaceful time for her with total acceptance that God was calling her home. Members of our religious community have noted; “She showed us how to die.”