Sister Devota Klamet, OSB

April 21, 1918 - June 24 , 2013

Sister Devota Klamet, OSB, 95, a Benedictine Sister of Mount St. Scholastica, Atchison, Kansas, died June 24 , 2013, at the monastery. The vigil will be Thursday, June27, at 7:00 p.m. in the monastery chapel, and the Mass of Resurrection will be Friday, June 28, at 10:30 a.m.

Sister Devota Klamet%2C OSBBorn to Louis and Frances Gail Klamet April 21, 1918, Sister Devota spent her early years in  Tonganoxie and Bonner Springs, Kansas. Baptized Grace Josephine at Sacred Heart Church in Bonner Springs, she attended Dafer Grade School in Tonganoxie and Bonner Springs High School until her senior year. She graduated from Mount St. Scholastica Academy, Atchison, in 1936 and entered the Benedictine community there in 1937. She made monastic profession in August 1938.

Sister Devota earned the Bachelor in Education with a minor in history from Mount St. Scholastica College and the Master of Science in education from Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska. She taught in grade and high schools in five states for some 70 years. She was a founding member of the Benet Hill Community in Colorado, a daughter house of the Mount. She was principal and teacher in Monte Vista and Antonito, Colorado, and librarian at the Benet Hill Academy. After fifteen years in the Colorado community, she transferred back to Atchison in 1980. She was librarian at Maur Hill Prep School, was on staff at Benedictine College library, and continued that service in the Mount St. Scholastica community library as technical services assistant. She directed The Mount Community Center Gifts and Books for ten years.  Sister Devota was predeceased by her parents, by her brothers Charles and Vincent, and by her sisters Rita Klamet, Anne Willie, and Blanche Murphy. She is survived by her sisters Regina (Mrs. Norman) Jennings of Bonner Springs, Kansas; Mary (Mrs. Louis) Seufert, Tonganoxie, Kansas; Teresa (Mrs. John) Griffin, Batavia, NY; and Ruth (Mrs. Wade) Martin, Kansas City, Kansas; and by her monastic family. 

Sister Devota's memorial card

 “To do your will, O God, is my delight,
your law is within my heart.”  Ps. 40:7

Sister Devota Klamet was born to Louis and Frances Gail Klamet of Bonner Springs, Kansas, members of Sacred Heart Church. She attended grade school in Tonganoxie, high school in Bonner Springs until her senior year, and graduated from Mount St. Scholastica Academy in 1936. She entered the community in 1937 and made monastic profession in 1938. Sister Devota earned a B.S in education with a minor in history from Mount St. Scholastica College and an M.S. in education from Creighton University, Omaha. She was a founding member of the Benet Hill Community in Colorado and was principal at Wien, Missouri, Monte Vista and Antonito, Colorado, and librarian at Benet Hill Academy, Maur Hill Preparatory School, and Benedictine College. She later assisted in technical services for the monastery library. She directed The Mount Community Center Gift shop for ten years. A discerning woman with a joyful heart, Sister Devota gave joy to others in her varied ministries, including mail and prayer guide distribution and special delivery of crossword puzzles. Her witty accounts of the day’s events amused many, and her warm hugs and her thoughtful ways made her a pleasant companion. Let us remember her in grateful prayer.

Reflection given at the Vigil Service
Thomasita Homan, OSB

Readings: Isaiah 25: 6-10, 1 Peter 1: 69, John 6:35, 37-40

We extend sympathy and peace to Sister Devota’s sisters Regina, Mary, Teresa, and Ruth and to her extended family and many friends.  Welcoming Devota to eternity are her parents and five siblings:  Rita, Anne, Blanche, Charles, and Vincent .

Can’t you imagine Sister Devota echoing Isaiah’s words as she enters eternity and meets our God: “Behold our God…This is the LORD for whom we looked:  let us rejoice and be glad…!”  Imagine her awe!

Devota knows how to rejoice, how to be glad. Earth time taught her that. Her life, spaced with psalms, nourished her. She was a happy and hopeful presence in our midst, generous with her time, her words, her hugs, and her companionship. 

Her two names seem carefully fashioned for her:  her baptismal name “Grace” and her religious name “Devota.” She lived the tall and short of her life with gentle grace, devoted to her Benedictine calling, to community, and to the task at hand.  Sister Noreen Hurter said, “Devota’s head and heart were where she was. We could always count on that.”  She cherished reality, and had little use for fancy. She was fond of saying confidently: “We belong to God.”  This faith and confidence, this grace  and Devota’s  own spirit led her to her new birth… ”an inheritance…kept in heaven…”   But before she reached that inheritance, she waited those long months on the edge of time, the edge of eternity. Still, grace and 95 years of hope were piled up within her. Now all comes to fulfillment and presence and gladness and joy unimaginable.  

I think Sister Devota would appreciate three themes from our readings this evening: the themes of journey, food, and mountains. Words many of you used in talking about her. 

Journey is how I got to know Devota. Always ready to go, she never turned down an opportunity to drive me somewhere or nowhere, anytime and any place.  She did the same for anyone of us. When she drove me to Omaha or a closer destination, I discovered that Devota really knew what she was about, that she liked alternate routes of travel, and that she could talk on most any topic. Sister Seraphine added, “You didn’t ask her for an opinion and not get one.” In our road trips, I came to know her and began to understand more about the real journey we all are making and how important we are to one another and others.  

What about the food theme mentioned by both Isaiah and John?   So much becomes real in the breaking of the bread. Earthly bread prepares us and nourishes us. For Devota, who was fond of sharing meals with friends, an earthly bread, a bagel with double-cream cheese was a start to the real food, the food being prepared by the LORD for “all peoples”…”A feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy rich food and pure choice wines.” And in the New Testament, John reminds us of Jesus’ words:  “’I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.’” We learn to yearn for this banquet.

The third theme.  Isaiah says, “On this mountain the LORD…will provide…” and it is here on this mountain of Mount St. Scholastica and in the mountains of Colorado that Devota found living hope and became an example of hope. She kept pictures of mountains on her walls and in her heart.  

We continue on our journey, on the mountain the Lord has called us to, we, who yearn for fulfillment, who live in hope. Peter reminds us:  “Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith…” 

Earth is our learning time.  We journey the words of William Blake: 

“We are placed on earth a little space
That we may learn to bear the beams of love.”

Homily for the Mass of Resurrection for Sister Devota
by  Fr. Meinrad Miller, OSB

Feast of St. Irenaeus

This morning we join our hearts in thanksgiving for the life of Sr. Devota. To her Sisters here at the Mount where she spent 75 years in vowed life; to her family, her sisters: Regina, Mary, Teresa and Ruth, and to the memory of her deceased brothers Charles and Vincent, and deceased sisters Rita, Anne and Blanche, and their families, we offer our prayers.

Her parents, Louis and Frances Gail Klamet provided the early foundation of her formation as a person. Through the life received in Baptism and strengthened in Confirmation and the Eucharist, young Grace Klamet was able to grow and become the person she was.

We are reminded of her humanity in the words of St. Irenaeus, whose feast is today: It is impossible to live without life, and the actualization of life comes from participation in God, while participation in God is to see God and enjoy God’s goodness.

Sr. Devota saw God in everyone she met, and in every task in front of her, and enjoyed God’s goodness in the way she lived out the mystery of her vocation as a Benedictine Sister.  Her coming to community, and following Jesus for 75 years in the Benedictine way of life did not destroy her personality, but rather the bonds of community life allowed her to grow as a person. She journeyed with this community for over ½ of its existence. 

In the Psalm Sr. Devota chose from Psalm 40:7, we find a powerful clue of her understanding of the energy behind her vocation: the Law of God is within my heart. This fact is not always apparent. Young Grace Klamet was born into a world torn apart by World War I, which many dubbed the war to end all wars. The very day of her birth, April 21, 1918 was the day the infamous German pilot Red Barron died in a battle in that war.  It would be 7 months later, on the 55th anniversary of the founding of Mount St. Scholastica that the war would end on November 11, 1918. And yet within her heart from birth was placed this law of God.

Twenty years later, knowing the power of God’s word, as described by Isaiah in the first reading, she made her profession of vows with the name Sr. Devota. I am sure that life in the Great Depression, and on the eve of another war was not easy. But God sends us people like Devota, who themselves are living instruments of the Word that water the earth, and cultivate the soil of our hearts. Her humor, wit, intelligence, and ability to let you know exactly where you stood were nothing short of instruments used by God.

In another 25 years, in the 1960s, she would welcome the changes of the second Vatican Council. Always faithful to her life as a Benedictine, and always ready to take on new challenges, she went to Colorado, and to missions near and far. But in the midst of it all, she was faithful. The words of Revelation from our second reading echoed in her heart See, I am making all things new. Part of that newness of life was her ability to enjoy life, while also living a frugal life so as to help others.

Perhaps the words of one of our newest Doctors of the Church, St. Hildegard, will help us appreciate what God did through Sr. Devota, and wants to do in each of us: A human being is a vessel that God has built for himself and filled with his inspiration so that God’s works are perfected in it.

This describes well the Eucharistic life, which Jesus teaches us about in the Gospel today. To be Eucharistic is not to be static, or stale, but it is to be alive, to be fed with the bread of life, and to give that life to others. Sr. Devota loved Christ in the Eucharist, in her sisters, family, and friends, and in the world. May she remind us to be patient as we too set out on the Way with the Gospel as our guide.