Mother of Living Rosary and Devotee of the Blessed Mother Theresa
Jeanette J. (Swencka) Donovan Kallery died January 6 at the Life Care Center of the North Shore. She was 101 years old.
She was born in Lynn on July 4, the daughter of the late Anthony and Sadie (Obidzienska) Swencki and the wife of the late Joseph J. Donovan and Frank T. Kallery.
She was a graduate of Lynn English High School, Class of 1930 and continued her education with a certificate from the Plus School in IBM Keypunch in 1996. Upon graduation from high school, Jeanette was employed by Hoague-Sprague Corporation of Lynn and Worcester.
She and her first husband, Joseph and their son, Don resided in Worcester where she worked in her husband’s job while he served in World War II. Following her retirement and return to Lynn, she became a cook for both St. Joseph’s and St. Michael’s Rectories.
Mrs.Kallery was honored for a life-time award for her achievements, including the introduction of the first Girl Scout Troop to St. Michael’s Parish. She recruited adult leaders to assist her.
At the age of 93, she was the longest president of the Holy Rosary Sodality at St. Michael’s the Archangel Church in Lynn. Jeanette had devotion to the Sacred Heart and introduced the Divine Mercy Devotion in her church. She was a longtime member of the Infant of Prague Guild serving as its president and was also a member of the Ecumenical Catholic Women’s Group, the Polish Legion of American Veterans Ladies Auxiliary, Chapter #56 where she was awarded the Woman of the Year in 2008, a member of the Shoe City Lions Club, member of the Lynn Democratic Committee and Past President of the St. Michael’s Retirees.
Mrs.Kallery took Spanish lessons at age 93 in order to teach the Hispanic community English as a second language.
Along with being a community activist, Mrs. Kallery was a devoted communicant of St. Michael’s Polish Church in Lynn until it’s closing and Sacred Heart Church in Lynn. She and her late husband Frank started a volunteer group at St. Michael’s to assist in the care and cleaning of the church.
Her faith brought her to two important events in her life. Jeanette had a deep admiration for the Blessed Mother Teresa. She embroidered a sign reading “SSh, I’m talking to God” and mailed this to Mother Teresa. Mother Teresa wrote a personal letter to Jeanette which included a “business card” which Jeanette has generously given out to anyone she would meet.
In recognition of Mother Teresa’s 87th birthday, Jeanette had a large poster made with birthday wishes and signed by many generous donors contributing to the missionary sisters of Calcutta.
Her deep devotion and tireless efforts for promotion of the rosary came to fruition in 1987. Jeanette was affectionately known as the “Mother of the Living Rosary.” She was inspired to do something special for the Blessed Mother when Pope John Paul II declared the Marion Year. Jeanette organized a committee to establish the Living Rosary, under the leadership of the late Bishop John Mulcahy and Rev. John F. Leonard. The first one was held in October of 1987 in the Lynn Commons where approximately 3000 people attended. Since that time, the Living Rosary has been held every month for 27 years in various churches in the North Shore area. The annual Living Rosary is held in October in St. Mary’s Church in Lynn.
Being involved with activities was only one part of her life. She was especially happy when she was with her beloved family. She enjoyed babysitting, cooking and baking for them. Known for her talents in sewing, knitting and crocheting, Mrs. Kallery found time to present her grandchildren with her finest handiwork.
She is survived by her daughter, Elaine Faith Donovan of Lynn, her daughters in law, Joan Donovan of Lynn and Georgia Kallery of Missouri, her grandchildren: Michael and his wife, Laurie of Lynn, Brian and his wife, Sharon of Hamilton, Paul and his wife, Patti of Salem, Sean and his wife, Deidre of Lynnfield, David Kallery and his wife, Patricia of Colorado, Edward and his wife, Jennifer and Katie and her husband, Gary of Missouri along with 15 great grandchildren, several nieces, nephews and cousins.
She was the mother of the late Joseph “Don” Donovan and David Kallery, sister of the late Chester Swencki, Irene Ruddock and Shirley Swencka and also her faithful family dog, Daisy Mae.
The family wishes to thank the entire staff of Life Care Center in Lynn for the outstanding love, care and comfort afforded to Jeanette and her family.
Funeral arrangements were entrusted to the Nadworny Funeral Home, Lynn. Interment was in St. Joseph’s Cemetery. Memorial donations may be made in Jeanette’s name to Boston Catholic Television, P.O. Box 9196, Watertown, MA 02172, Marion Year Living Rosary c/o Santander Bank, Broadway, Lynn, MA 01904 and/or the Shoe City Lions, P.O. Box 8173, Lynn, MA 01904. For guestbook visit: www.nadwornyfuneralhome.com