Jean Bautz, RSCJ

Jean Bautz, RSCJ

Birth: May 1, 1922
Profession: March 10, 1947
Death: December 23, 2018

Religious of the Sacred Heart, Jean Bautz died December 23, 2018, in Albany, New York.

Jean Bautz was born in Flushing, New York, on May 1, 1922, to Louis Bautz and Jane Riley Bautz. She had an older sister, Helen, to whom she was always very close. Although their father died when Jean was a young child, she always spoke of their wonderful childhood with a mother who devoted herself whole-heartedly to their happiness.

After her graduation in 1944 from Manhattanville College of the Sacred Heart in New York, Jean entered the Society of the Sacred Heart at Kenwood in Albany, New York, and pronounced her first vows in March 1947. She made her final profession in Rome, Italy, on July 30, 1952.

In the course of her long life, Sister Bautz exercised her educational and administrative gifts at Sacred Heart schools at Greenwich and Noroton, Connecticut; at Lawrence Avenue and Bloomfield Hills in Detroit; at Kenwood in Albany; at Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York; and at Stuart Country Day School in Princeton, New Jersey. She was by turns teacher, headmistress, community superior, director of services, and career counselor. In 1986, after some preparatory study in her new field of pastoral services, Sister Bautz was named director of pastoral services at Kenwood, a path she would follow in some form or other until her death.

In response to a Society questionnaire she filled out in 1993, she wrote she would like “to continue assisting the sick and elderly as long as possible.” On the same questionnaire Sister Bautz wrote she “would like to make a renewal in 1994 (50 years since my Entrance) as preparation for the final, and I hope, very fruitful stage of my life.”

With her strong and determined personality, Sister Bautz was often called “feisty,” and for certain she was never one to back down from an argument. But she was ready to acknowledge a mistake as soon as she discovered it. She had a generous and ready laugh and a resonant, “cultured” accent, and was often called on to read on significant occasions. Several years ago, as some of the religious were engaged in talking about developments at a recent meeting of the international Society in Rome, she became intensely aware of and shared with them the fact that “it’s all about love.” And in her interactions with her neighbors and friends both at Avila and at Teresian House, it was evident that she embraced that message. Sister Bautz was a beloved, active, and involved member of the Lodge community at Avila until just weeks before her death on December 23, which came gently within 10 days of her going to Teresian House for rehabilitation following a fall.

Sister Bautz is survived by her sister, Helen Bautz Strachan of Lennox, Massachusetts, her many friends at Avila and at Teresian House, and her religious sisters by whom she was deeply loved and admired.

Funeral services will be held for Sister Bautz on Friday, January 4, 2019, at 11 a.m. in the Teresian House chapel, followed by sharing of memories and burial.


Submitted by Sheila Gray on

I was in the first First Grade Class at the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. It was the Fall of 1958. I graduated twelve years later, in June of 1970. I saw, I lived, both the old and the new Sacred Heart education. For the first seven, eight, nine years, I curtsied around the grounds and walked silently in size-place lines to and from every class. I spoke only during morning recreation and at lunch. I learned the “Hail Mary” in French in First Grade. I lived through endless Holy Day pageants, consisting mainly of Tableaus that were agonizing at best. I suffered through Oral Exams... from 1958 thru 1964? 65? 66? One of my clearest memories of the whole 12 years of my 19th Century, frozen in time, “A Handmaids Tale-esque” education is the day all the nuns showed up in new habits after, what? 160+ years? I remember THAT day as if it were yesterday...Jean Bautz was a big part of my school life in many ways during the old days. She left Bloomfield Hills for Greenwich, CT at the end of my Freshman year (1967). I actually listened to her General Instruction speeches, or reveries, or whatever they were. They were filled with references to people such as Martin Buber and Teilhard de Chardin. The philosopher, and the poet, and the seeker of truth in me was fully engaged. I discovered Gerard Manley Hopkins because of Jean Bautz. I saw, and felt the seeing in my soul, of his “Shook foil.” Jean Bautz, probably unknowingly, gave me that. She also gave me the best advice of anyone in my, now, 66 years. I was 12 years old. It was 1964. I had given her a box of Holy Cards for Christmas and she wrote me back on one of them. This is what she wrote, this was what I now know to be the best advice anyone has ever offered to me: “Remember, Sheila, to always look up.”Do you know what happens when you actually do that... always look up? You see stars... You see the tops of trees moving in the wind of some lost day, you see the sky. You see clouds, their shape and color and size. You see birds. You see the moon. You see everything God made, everything that’s part of Nature, which we know we did not create. Her advice saved me many, many times. I’ve been alive for over 16,000 dawns and dusks, over 16,000 mornings and nights since Jean Bautz gave me that advice in a Holy Card in 1964, and I’ve “seen” them all, thanks to her. She was a very deep person. I know she helped propel me to be one, too. I cannot imagine a life not lived fully examined. She started me along that path, this road of mine, and only mine. And I was only one student among many. She must have touched others as deeply...I hope she is seeing it as well, that shook foil, that glorious beauty of every/any day and night given till the light goes out... or does it??? Jean Bautz is the only person in my life I ever trusted enough to actually try to speak with about my relationship with the Other. I thank her, and all the RSCJ’s I’ve learned from, “Fare Forward, Voyager. Yea Life. Yea, the coming, endless life.”Sheila GrayClass of 1970Bloomfield Hills, Michigan

Submitted by Victoria Allen on

this is about the most beautiful reflection on a life that I have ever read. Jean and I were good friends for about 25 years. Your letter moved me deeply. Thank you.

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