Remembering Sister Jon Julie Sullivan (1940 – 2022)

Sister Jon Julie Sullivan went peacefully home to her good God on August 10, 2022, at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston after suffering a stroke. She was 82 and had been a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur for 64 years.

She was born Eleanor Janice Sullivan in 1940 in Cambridge to parents John David Sullivan and Doris (Cline) Sullivan.

She entered the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in 1957, and was an excellent teacher for many years. She taught at Holy Rosary in Lawrence, St. Mary’s School in Lawrence, Cardinal Cushing Central High School in South Boston, and St. Mary’s School in Lynn, Mass.

She served as a counselor at St. Gregory’s Church in Dorchester and served in campus ministry at Framingham State College and Emmanuel College in Boston.

She was a program consultant in religious education and lecturer. Active in the community, Sister Jon Julie volunteered in social service outreach for Project Hope Family Shelter in Dorchester, pastoral care and advocate at the Notre Dame Long Term Care, and the community coordinator for the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in Ipswich.

She also served at the Carmelite Monastery, NDLTC, Notre Dame Education Center of Boston, and the SNDdeN in Wakefield.

Sister Jon Julie touched the lives of all she met in the classroom, in the healthcare facilities, and beyond. She was a very talented and creative woman. She shared her creativity with others through her gift of photography. Jon had a great way with words and symbols, which made her reflections and workshops so memorable.

She was predeceased by her siblings: John David Sullivan, Daniel Richard Sullivan, Doris Louis Vargus, John Edward Sullivan, Barbara Ann Sullivan, Thomas Edward Sullivan, Mary Emily Sullivan, and Brian Christopher Sullivan.

She is survived by her brother, Francis Michael Sullivan; numerous nieces and nephews; her sisters and associates in the Notre Dame community; and her many friends and former students.

Sister Jon Julie’s Mass of Christian burial was celebrated on Monday, August 22, 2022, Our Lady Queen Chapel in Ipswich, Mass, and she is interred at the Notre Dame Cemetery in Ipswich.

To make a gift to the Sisters in memory of Sister Jon Julie, please click here.

A few examples of Sister Jon Julie's poetry, reflections and photography appear below.

A young boy and Sister Jon Julie Sullivan exchange smiles as she serves breakfast at the Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen, TX in January 2020.
Sister Jon Julie Sullivan shows an Angolan woman the photo Sister took of the woman's family at the Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen, TX in January 2020.


  1. What a blessing it was to have Sister Jon as my Aunt! Capturing photos all her life. Ever since I was young, she would take many photos of me showing off on my roller skates, or playing catch with my brothers and sisters. But the photos she would send me were ones of me staring at the leaves on a tree, discovering what lies under a rock or watching the rain fall before I could go out and play. I never knew she took them until I would receive in the mail. Never received the roller skate, baseball or soccer photos. Took me years to understand. To me, she was smart, clever, impatient and strict. She was a master at taking the lead and then falling into the back round to observe. Her Christmas letters were legendary, full of carefully worded thoughts which made them impossible to read just once. She looked at life through an amazing lens and I'm grateful she shared with me.

    1. Eric, what a lovely, lovely tribute you've written for your aunt. It's clear that you share some of her gift for communications. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us all.

      (for the sisters)

    1. Thank you for writing, Dawn. She was indeed a treasure, and won't be forgotten!

      (for the Sisters)

  2. Hello,
    My family and I live in California and have known Jon Julie for 50 years and would very much like to have a link to live stream her service.
    Where can I get a link?

    1. Hello Nicole, and thanks for your message. As soon as we have the information for the live stream we will add it to the online obituary and I will send you a message directly.

      With sympathy for your loss, and ours,

      (for the Sisters)

  3. Sister Jon was my Aunt and simply put she was the smartest, kindest, and most well spoken person I have ever known. When I was young, she used to take me and my brother on trips to museums and often quizzed us on letters, numbers, math facts, palindromes, oxymorons, and whatever other wisdom she wanted to impart. She was a teacher for part of her life, which is a profession we shared. It made me proud to have something in common with this amazing woman. In my adult years our conversations would always include education and the love of learning. She taught me more than I could ever mention. I will miss her spirit, her wealth of knowledge, and her gentle nature that always put people at ease. Rest in peace knowing the positive impact you made on me, all who were fortunate enough to know you.

  4. I lost contact with Sr. Jon Julie during the pandemic when I moved and lost her address. She would always send me a Christmas letter with an unique photo as a meditation. She was an amazing person! I will miss her but I rejoice that she is now with Jesus.

  5. Sr. Jon Julie was my high school biology teacher. We reconnected at my 50th reunion event and were in frequent contact since then(2015). Her Christmas letters are wonderful, from 1972 to 2022. One day she read them (then 48)aloud to me. I knew we had to bind them as a book, and so, we did. She always laughed when I referenced "your book." I am sorry, Eric and Dawn, and to all the good sisters who shared life with her. Sr. Jon is unforgettable. She changed my life.

  6. Sr. Jons' visits were always memorable and she was the first to explain when I would ask ' How long are you staying?' to never ask that. Instead to keep the ending quiet and enjoy every moment in case the end was soon. Also, it may make one feel like they were in a clock and since we might know the end time then we could makes plans for later and miss so much in the process. She would sign her letters with a drawing of an ant and I believe it was because of our comical conversations of the infamous accent ❤️
    She was fiercely protective with a gentle heart. We don't have a great deal of pictures of her since she was always behind the camera. I learned so much by watching her interactions especially with her siblings. I loved her dearly and she will be missed but I know she is happy to be home.

  7. When Jon Julie was a campus minister at Framingham State College, she offered us so many opportunities to pray, to grow and to love. She always referred to her work as "mini-tries"!

    One day she took several of us on ride in her (very cool) Mustang. We dropped in to a convent on the way and she told the sisters that we were hungry and asked what they had for us to eat. After a milli-second of panic, cupbards and refrigerators were opened and all sorts of food was prepared. She then told them that she was just teaching us a lesson about how we would be welcomed at any SND house. How true that is!

    Jon was always welcoming and teaching about the goodness of God. There was a very snowy weekend when a group of us got together for a photography weekend. In addition to learning how to develop b;ack and white film, we ventured through the snow and the hills and saw everyday things that became magical with a camera. How blessed we have all been by her creativity.

    She used to take us to some of the talks that she gave on death and dying. In her Boston accent, she once asked if anyone wanted to be
    "a model." We laughed all the way home when we realized that she was saying "immortal" not a model!

    Her legacy of love will be immortal. Rest in peace, faithful servant.

  8. Sully,
    So very sorry for your loss. I remember her well from many years ago when she would visit you at the store. I was just another kid on the corner but she was so kind to us young hellions.
    May she forever R.I.P.

  9. Sr. Jon Julie was a frequent visitor to our home on Cottage St in Cambridge. She loved my parents, Jim and Jean Sullivan and they loved her back. She was a best friend of my aunt Deborah. Jon Julie was a mainstay of our very large extended family. She dazzled us with her poetry, and she made us cry when she eulogized many of our aunts and uncles. To say she was a part of our family would be an understatement. Her kindness was legendary, her empathy and compassion were infectious. She was a hero to me and my family. She is the perfect example of a life well-lived. We will miss her tremendously, however, she will be alive in our memories forever. With love, John Sullivan.

  10. Sully I am sad to hear about Sister Jon . She was always kind, gentle and funny ….. Oh how we all would laugh when you would say Sister Jon was “Your ticket into Heaven “ . .. She would just shake her head and smile …. Thinking of You ♥️

  11. Sr. Jon Julie was a gift to our family! Our parents at Long Term Care in Worcester were warmly befriended by her. Her photos of them reflect the deep love they shared… even as Mom struggled with dementia. Dad lived his vow "for better or worse" with compasion and devotion. And, with great sensitivity, Sr. Jon Julie's skill caught that beautiful intimacy. My sisters and I are sure that they are all enjoying one another's company where God has prepared a place for them!

    Ora Mathurin Aselton

  12. I followed many a Jon Julie catechetical workshop in the greater Boston area years ago, and gratefully added her creative ideas to my own methods. A couple years ago, as part of a retreat I was giving where I joined the participants in writing to thank our mentors, I wrote an email to Jon thanking her for those workshops, her spirit, and her life. I treasure her delightful email response! Rest easy, Jon, knowing you have taught so many how to leave a legacy!

  13. My brother John Sullivan said it well. Sr. Jon Julie went to grammar school with my aunt Deborah, babysat my brothers and I, had a deep, enduring friendship with our mother. She was a spiritual guide for my mother, and my family. She nourished in me a courage to follow my heart, to look at the world with eyes wide open, to stand beside people who are marginalized, and to seek and find God in all things. I love that this devoted Sister of Notre Dame de Namur inspired me to be a fiercely independent woman. Like her niece, I will so miss her Christmas messages. Now it's up to us to fumble along in an effort to find the light in the darkness. Rest in Peace Jon. You did well.

  14. I met Sister Jon Julie with Sister Jeanette Braun at Table of Plenty in Half Moon Bay. What a wonderful Lady, she came to the the kitchen to visit us and took many Pictures. She was loved by all our volunteers with her great smile and her bright personality It was always so much fun when she came to California.
    I will miss seeing her but she will always be in my heart.
    Now she is happy being with God and all the Angels.
    Rest in Peace dear Sister Jon Julie

  15. You Will Be Missed My Friend and Sister,
    Jon saying goodbye was the hardest thing to do.
    I never thought I would especially to you my friend. You always listened and knew what to say, knew when to give a hug when I was having a bad day, Jon no one will ever take your place I can promise you this. Jon it's hard to find someone like you, so my friend you will always be missed by the Sullivan Family. We love you and will miss you so much.
    Love Deborah and your second family Sullivan's

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