Sister Jacqueline Emmons was born in Detroit, Michigan on May 30, 1932. She was the oldest of five children and the leader of her siblings. Brother Raymond Cote, a Trappist Lay Brother at Our Lady of the Valley, Rhode Island (later Saint Joseph’s Abbey, Spencer), was her very special uncle. Perhaps due to contact with him, she decided to enter Mount Saint Mary’s Abbey shortly after graduation from high school as a Lay Sister and, on June 1, 1951, she became Sister Mary John. She made her final Simple Vows on January 21, 1957. She persevered through many painful difficulties, including terrible attacks of scruples to the point of illness. She was, nonetheless, a stalwart of the heavy work that characterized the life of the Lay Sisters, loving outdoor manual labor and rejoicing in the strong body God had given her to use to serve the community. At the time of the Unification she joined the Choir. She reassumed her baptismal name of Jacqueline and became known to her sisters affectionately as Sister Jackie. To her great joy, she was at last able to profess her long delayed Solemn Vows on March 19, 1992.
Sister Jackie was much given to prayer and ever longed for more. Her mind was continually occupied with the thought of God, centered in Jesus in the Eucharist. She thought of God as Ocean and herself as a little drop. She reveled in contemplating His Infinity and letting her mind be absorbed by wonder. Her wonder was often shared with her sisters in her poems, works of art and, most especially in the later years, the dance of color she created in the cloister garth.
She was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 1999, and when given the news of her terminal illness, was filled with joy and gratitude because it meant the day of seeing Jesus face to face was approaching. It was almost one and one-half years before the longed for moment came, a difficult time, borne with courage and impatience.
She died peacefully on Sunday morning, January 28, 2001, just as the sun was coming over the horizon, surrounded by her monastic family.