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 final Diamond Jubilarian sister as we remember her 80 YEARS of service to Christ, Church, and Community…
Sr. Leonette was born the second of ten children to Fred and Elizabeth on a farm two miles north of Menominee, NE. Looking back, Sr. Leonette recalls that at the end of her sophomore year at Mount Marty Academy, S. Cyrilla asked the students at the end of a test, “What do you plan to do when you leave here?” Sr. Leonette said, “It was funny. I had never thought of it before, but at that moment I knew I had to say I wanted to be a Sister. From that moment on the thought never left me.” She entered Sacred Heart Convent on September 4, 1933 and made profession on June 24, 1935.
Through the years Sr. Leonette earned degrees from Mount Marty College, the Gregorian Institute of America, Seattle University and licensure as a Social Service Associate from the state of SD. Sr. Leonette taught elementary grades for 11 years before she was called back to the monastery to serve in positions as formation director, assistant to the prioress, choir director, personnel director and oblate director. She served as prioress of St. Mary’s Priory, Victoria, British Columbia, at the request of the Holy See, and received the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice medal of honor from the Vatican. Additional mission work included parish ministry, South Dakota Social Services, and Sister James Nursing Home. She continued volunteering at Sister James Nursing Home and Sacred Heart Hospital until 2005.
Her spirit of volunteerism went with her into retirement at the monastery. S. Leonette wrote, “In celebrating my jubilee, I am grateful to be a Benedictine and have the support of my community and to be able to pray the divine office. It’s a wonderful life, I can’t think of a life more rewarding. I’m grateful to my parents and my family for everything I have received. To celebrate 80 years is a real joy and gift.”
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