Sister Janice (Margaret Cornelia) Waters

Janice Waters was born in West Newton, Massachusetts to Harold and Elizabeth (Uniacke) Waters. She was the only child until her mother went “on vacation” and came back with Janice’s brother Barry. Another brief vacation for her mother brought Janice’s sister Marcia to their home. While her mother was away on yet another vacation, Janice’s father told the children they had a new sister. When Janice announced the happy news to her teacher at St. Bernard School, Sister asked the new sibling’s name but Janice didn't know it. The next day, Janice reported that her father’s response to the question was “Her name is ‘Sufficient.’” Needless to say, the Sister at school was entertained by his response! Janice’s youngest sister was actually named Connie, a derivative of Cornelia, which was a family name. They were a loving family of six.

After graduating high school from St. Bernard in 1946, Janice and her best friend worked at Norumbega Park, which was well-known for "The Totem Pole Ballroom" where many famous entertainers performed. She then took a job in Boston, but a year after leaving St. Bernard’s both she and her best friend entered the congregation. Janice chose the name Sister Margaret Cornelia.

From 1950-59, Sister Janice taught in elementary schools. She remembers her first mission to a school in the West End of Boston that had many immigrant students who frequently needed clothes and food. In Sister Janice’s first class there were 75 boys, and she remembers that Sister Loretta Julia tried to meet the needs of all those little boys.

Sister Janice began to teach biology and chemistry at the high school level, having earned her B.A. from Emmanuel College in Biology and Chemistry in 1961. Sister Alice McCourt, now a good friend of Sister Janice, learned chemistry from Sister Janice during her senior year at St. Bernard High School in West Newton, Mass. She remembers Sister Janice’s very positive attitude, as well as her habit of bringing a tidy stack of 3”x5” index cards of her notes for each day of class. In time, Sister Janice became vice-principal of CCCH and then principal. Her speeches to the girls often included the phrase, “I am confident” to reflect her optimism in them.

Sister Janice Waters in 1972, while principal of Cardinal Cushing Central High School for Girls.

Boston’s schools were desegregating during the early 1970s, and this affected Sister Janice’s day-to-day life. She and other Sisters were living in apartments at the D Street Housing Project. On every school day, police deployed into the buildings to escort the children out to the school buses that would take them to other parts of the city. Similarly, as the population of CCCH diversified, for a couple of years the Sisters and police would walk their students back and forth to the nearby Broadway “T” stop.

Sister Janice earned an M.A. in Pastoral Urban Ministry from Emmanuel College in 1976. She has also taken courses in Theology and Administration from Boston College and Providence College.

These studies were of value as she served in Religious Education in Saugus, Mass. and during her long time in leadership for the Boston Province. She was active in advancement for the Province and also spent many years writing grants and facilitating planning for the Little Sisters of the Assumption.

Looking back over the 75 years, Sister has no favorite ministry, saying “Everything I did meant a lot to me, including teaching,” And she has always had a passion for education. One outcome of her experiences in varied ministries is that she has a strong, warm feeling for Notre Dame de Namur Association because of her time as Director of Associates,

Sister Janice now lives in community with other Sisters at Notre Dame du Lac in Worcester, Mass. Though she is the only one in her family left of her generation, she loves and prays for her nieces and nephews. She is delighted to be celebrating her 75th Jubilee, saying, “I’ve had a pretty good life!”