Sister Jessie Poynton
Location – Center – NY
Jessie Poynton was born in 1930 in Buffalo, NY, September 14, 1930 to Helen (Bamber) and Fred Poynton. She had 4 sisters: Frances, Marian, Nancy and Mary and 3 brothers: Richard, George and Frederick. Jessie graduated from Sacred Heart Academy, Buffalo, NY in 1948. Jessie taught for two years at St. Agnes and St. Bernard’s Schools while attending night school at Canisius Jesuit College in Buffalo.
Jessie entered Maryknoll at the Sisters Center in NY from St. Gerald’s Parish, Buffalo September 6, 1950. She pronounced her first vows on March 7, 1953 at the Center and Final Vows March 7, 1959 in Chile. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Maryknoll Teachers College in 1956. In 1957, she received her first mission assignment to Chile. There she taught in and served as principal of primary schools in Santiago and Talchuano from 1957 to 1968. Sister Jessie collaborated with other Maryknollers and mission partners to support, encourage, and develop small Christian communities. Sister Jessie was also involved in religious education for adults and young people.
In 1970, Sister Jessie returned to the United States to help care for her sick father. While at home she studied and earned a Master of Arts – Education from the State University of NY in Buffalo in 1973.
She returned to Chile in 1974 and was assigned to Temuco. She was a member of the Pastoral Team and was a professor of English at the University. From 1976 to 1991 Sister Jessie worked in Talca. She started a program among oppressed women which provided a motivating presence for their emotional healing, helping them recognize their own self-worth. Sister Jessie served in various ministries with the poor, embracing the life amongst them while living in tiny, wooden shacks with no running water or central heating in Talca, a small town in the heart of Chile’s farmlands.
In 1994, Sister Jessie was assigned to the Western U.S. Region. She volunteered ministering to senior citizens in apartments and did home and hospital visiting until 2009. She also formed a support group for women.
In 2010 Sister Jessie returned to NY and served as assistant cook at Watch Hill during the summer.
Sister Jessie retired at the Center where she is a member of the Chi Rho community. She is a faithful friend and companion to Sr. Laura Magallanes her friend from years together in Chile.