My parents (Kennis and Mary Brannock) moved our family from Rogers Park to Edison Park in 1952. Dad was a Chicago police officer and Edison Park was becoming the “place to be” for many police officers to live as it still is today. My three older siblings were enrolled in St. Juliana School in the Fall of 1952. I followed them when I entered 1st grade in 1955. Part of our graduation ceremony in 1963 was the groundbreaking for our “new church”. After graduating from St. Scholastica Academy, I left for college in Winona, Minnesota at the College of Saint Teresa, which was run by the same Order of nuns that were here at St. Juliana. I began my teaching career upon graduation from St. Teresa’s. I married my husband Andy, who was the music director for ten years here, in 1975 at St. Juliana and our daughter, Anne, was born in 1980. She, too, is an alumna of SJS.
I have been teaching here for many years and still love every minute of it. I am the religion teacher for our junior high students and am now teaching many of the next generation. Besides teaching our Catholic faith to my students, my passion is instilling in them a love of service to others. Students are required to do a service project in 7th grade for Confirmation but I offer them as many service opportunities as possible in all three grades. We might know all the “right” answers about our religion, but we must put our words into action.
God, family, and friends—in that order—are the most important things in our lives. I tell my students that if we remember that, everything else will fall into place.
When my mom died 8 years ago, I gave the eulogy at her funeral. One thing that I said was, “Thank you, Mom, for raising us in Edison Park and sending us to St. Juliana. How lucky we are.”
Life has been good—a career I love, a fantastic family (which now includes two grandchildren), unbelievable friends, and a wonderful home here at St. Juliana.
Janie Lidgus is a teacher at Saint Juliana School, an alumna of SJS, a parent of an alumna, and has been a parishioner for 66 years.