She was born in Nova Scotia, Glace Bay, Canada on November 5, 1924 to Catherine McDougall and Joseph Burke and became an American citizen in 1926. She had three brothers and three sisters: J. Raymond, John, Joseph P. Jr., Mary, Catherine and Margaret. Her parents and siblings have all predeceased her.
Jennie graduated from East Boston High School, in Boston MA in 1942. She entered the Maryknoll Sisters Congregation at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, in Maryknoll, NY on September 6, 1944 from Sacred Heart Parish in the Diocese of Boston, MA. At her Reception of the Habit she received the religious name Sister Miriam Terza. She made her First Profession of Vows on March 7, 1947 and her Final Vows on March 7, 1950, all at the Maryknoll Sisters Center. She earned two college degrees: a Bachelor of Education Degree at Maryknoll Teacher Training College in Maryknoll, NY and a Masters of Arts Degree in Religious Education at Seattle University, in Seattle, WA. In addition, she earned a certificate in Creation Spirituality at Holy Names College, in Oakland CA.
In 1949, Sister Jennie taught for one year at St. Anthony’s School in the Bronx, NY and was then assigned in 1950 to Hawaii where she taught in various diocesan schools until 1970. Following this, Sister Jennie became Religious Education Coordinator and sixth, seventh and eighth grade teacher at Maryknoll Girls School, Punahou, HI until 1975 when she returned to the Maryknoll Sisters Center and worked in Mission Education until 1978.
In 1978, she was assigned to Tanzania, East Africa where she did pastoral ministry and Christian Community Development in Dar Es Salaam from 1979 – 1981 and served as co-pastor of Sinon Church, Arusha, TZ from 1981 – 1986 . Following a year of renewal at the Maryknoll Sisters Center she went to Zimbabwe and Mozambique in 1988. She returned to Newburgh, NY in 1989 where she served as Community Development Coordinator and as a teacher in Adult Basic Education until 1990. From 1991 – 1993, she was a caregiver and counselor at ‘Arche Home in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. In 1993, she moved to Detroit, MI as a Special Education teacher at Mangrove College Learning and Writing Center until 1999. She retired in 2000 at the Maryknoll Sisters Center. Sister Jennie died peacefully on January 22, 2017 and donated her body to science.
A Vespers service will be held for Sister Jenny on January 27 at 4:15 p.m. in the Main Chapel at the Maryknoll Sisters Center. A funeral Mass will follow on January 28 at 9:00 a.m. also in the Main Chapel at the Center.