Each day of National Catholic Sisters Week, we will be sharing the story of one of our new members or Jubiliarian Sisters, those celebrating significant anniversaries in religious life! Today, we honor our two Diamond Jubilarian sisters as we remember their 60 years of service to Christ, Church, and Community…
Sister Marita is the seventh of eleven children born to Joseph and Clara on a farm near Salem, SD. Her Catholic education at St. Mary’s school in Salem began in the sixth grade after previous boarding at the SD School for the Deaf in Sioux Falls. Sr. Marita remembered it was her first encounter with nuns and she was awestruck by the black habits the Bernadine Sisters wore as they were her teachers at that time. After graduation from St. Mary’s High School Sr. Marita attended Mount Marty College for one year.
She entered Sacred Heart Monastery on August 20, 1953. After professing monastic vows on June 29, 1955, she worked in the registrar’s office and the college bookstore at Mount Marty for 12 years. She graduated from St. Mary’s Junior College in Minneapolis in 1969 as a certified occupational therapy assistant and began setting up the program at St. Thomas More Hospital annex before moving on to the education of deaf students. Additional missions included the deaf ministry, pastoral care, and special needs religious education programs. She moved back to Sacred Heart Monastery in June, 2009 where she currently works as administrative assistant editing the monastery’s Newsletter, assisting shoppers in the Gift Shop and making guests to the Peace Center feel at home.
Sr. Marita wrote, “Looking back on 60 years of Benedictine living, I feel I have grown so much and had the benefit of many educational opportunities and travels. I treasure the time spent touring the Holy Land in 1992 and the Rome monastic experience in 1998. So many wonderful people have touched my life and for all that I can only render praise and thanks to God – the giver of all that is good and true.”
Sister Jane began her story with her family’s love and goodness to each other as the primary influencing factor in her decision to choose religious life. Her parents, James and Rose were of Irish descent and described as very devout Catholics. After graduating from Holy Trinity High School, Jane entered Sacred Heart Monastery in August, 1953.
She professed her monastic vows on June 29, 1955 and began her nursing career at Sacred Heart School of Nursing and Sacred Heart School of X-ray Technology in Yankton. Sr. Jane earned her BS in Radiology and MS in Radiologic Science. She enjoyed her years of working as a nurse, a health care educator and as a radiologic technologist in hospital positions.
Looking back on her experiences, Sr. Jane wrote, “I have come to believe that the professionals, especially those of religion and medicine, have an awesome influence and responsibility toward mankind.” She continued, “My past Jubilees of profession as a Yankton Benedictine Sister have been by far the happiest days of my life!” Today, while reflecting on 60 years of Benedictine living, she is grateful as she celebrates another jubilee and for the enrichments she received in her religious life. She cherishes a special love for Avera Sacred Heart Hospital, and whenever she is able, she goes there to assist for some clerical work. She adds, “I believe one good example is worth 10,000 words.” In her autobiography S. Jane writes: “All things work unto good for those who love God.”
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