Sister Jeanne Marie Blacet, O.S.B.
September 28, 1913 - June 2, 2011
Sister Jeanne Marie Blacet, OSB, 97, a Benedictine Sister of Mount St. Scholastica, Atchison, Kans., died June 2, 2011. The vigil service will be at 7:00 p.m. Monday, June 6, in the monastery chapel, and the Mass of Resurrection will be at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, June 7, also in the monastery chapel.
Sister Jeanne Marie was born Sept. 28, 1913, in Des Moines, Iowa, to John and Lillian Streuber Blacet, the third child in a family of eight. She attended Cathedral School and Sacred Heart Convent High School in St. Joseph, Mo. She entered the Benedictine Sisters in 1932, made monastic profession in 1933, and celebrated her 75th anniversary in 2008. She received her B.A. in English with a history minor from Mount St. Scholastica College, Atchison, and a master's degree in education from St. Louis University. Between 1962 and 1982, her leadership helped the Catholic school system meet the demands of a changing culture, as she served the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas as supervisor and consultant in education and as superintendent of schools. Sister Jeanne Marie served her religious community as council member, scholastic director and novice director and, in retirement, she assisted in the business office and in the archives. She was preceded in death by her parents, her sisters Catherine (Mrs. L.G. Hatten), Margie (Mrs. Donald Stewart), Helen, and Jane; and her brother Jack. She is survived by her sister Elizabeth (Mrs. Clifford N. Kerns), St. Joseph, Mo., and by her brother, Msgr. William J. Blacet, Kansas City, Mo. Memorials may be sent to Mount St. Scholastica, Atchison.
Let us remember her gratefully in our prayers.
S. Jeanne Marie's memorial card:
“Be still and know that I am God.”
Born in Des Moines, Iowa, to John and Lillian Streuber Blacet, Sister Jeanne Marie was educated in St. Joseph, Mo. She entered the Mount community in 1932 and made monastic profession in 1933. She graduated from Mount St. Scholastica College in 1936 with a major in English and a minor in history, and earned the master’s degree in education from St. Louis University. Her versatility and openness are illustrated by her responsibilities. Over the years she was teacher, education superintendent for her monastic community and for the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, novice and scholastic director, coordinator of food service, Donnelly College trustee, Benedictine College board member, community council member, personnel director, assistant in the business office and archives, master of counted cross-stitch and, with her sister, provider of countless cookies. Wherever she was, her first concern was people. Whatever she was doing, Sister Jeanne Marie was attentive and personal, able to deflect negativity while accomplishing the positive. She was a trusted elder and friend sought for her ideas and example. Anyone who heard her read at the liturgy will remember the voice that gave life to Scripture, particularly to dialogue passages. She was a happy blend of humility, humor, and prudence. Let us remember her in thankful prayer.
Reflection given at the Vigil Service
by Sr. Chris Kean, O.S. B.
Readings: Proverbs 3: 13-18, 2 Corinthians 9: 6-15, John 4: 7-14
On behalf of Sr. Anne and the entire monastic community, I want to express our heartfelt sympathy to Sr. Jeanne Marie's sister Elizabeth, to her brother, Msgr. Bill and to all of her relatives, friends, and coworkers for whom her death is difficult.
The morning Sr. Jeanne Marie died I was doing some reading and came across a word that I hadn't used since I was teaching high school sociology. The word is altruism. Altruism as defined by Webster is an unselfish regard for, or devotion to, the welfare of others. I immediately thought - Jeanne Marie, she was the epitome of those who practice graceful altruism.
A teacher, superintendent, mentor, friend, confidant, family member, and faithful community member, Sr. Jeanne Marie was many things to many people in her long life. To a generation of us who are now middle aged in this community she was our scholastic director or novice/postulant director. Certainly in all of her many facets she was one who sought out wisdom and found it. She willingly and humbly shared her wisdom with others, but also let others seek their own wisdom. She stuck with you as you did your seeking and would be proud of you when you succeeded and there for you when you did not.
Tonight's readings direct us to think of that wise, altruistic person. In our reading from Proverbs we hear about the person who seeks wisdom, who gets understanding more than silver or gold. She finds long life and honor to be the way of pleasantness and peace. For all those who knew Jeanne Marie we know that she was forever pleasant and even tempered, even when confronting the difficulties of those in formation or something tough on the council. Jeanne Marie got it, she simply had the wisdom to understand people and all their foibles and she allowed each to have their own jewels, dull or well polished as they might be.
The reading from second Corinthians reminds us that God loves a cheerful giver. Who of us can ever forget the twinkle in her eyes and the lilt in her step or her famous red shoes? She moved through her daily tasks with a simple grace that many wish they had. She sowed the richness of God's love and favor into all whom she met,yet she was a humble, prayerful woman too, grateful for all the many gifts and the people given to her. I believe one of her most happy times was when she could share her generosity with others in hospitality. Whether in baking or entertaining the guest or just sharing a conversation with someone else, Jeanne Marie delighted in making others feel at home.
Jesus asks the Samaritan woman for a drink of water. While the woman in the story hesitates because she doesn't understand why Jesus has picked her to talk to, Jeanne Marie never hesitated to answer God's call to service. She gave of herself and received the assurance that Jesus would quench her thirst for life in His kingdom. She welcomed others to countless tables set by herself and her friends and entertained many of us with her stories and poetic voice. I had a real-to-life vision of Sr. Jeanne Marie arriving at heaven's gate last Thursday only to be met by Sr. Agnes Haganey, tea cup in hand, saying “it is about time you got here” and Jeanne Marie replying “oh, you don't mean it!”
The readings tonight are full of hope and promise for those who are willing to step beyond the box of the safe and secure, to take a risk and trust in something beyond themselves, to trust in the Lord. Call that altruism, faith, Christian living, call it being a faithful Benedictine woman for more than seventy-eight years, call that whatever name you want to put onto it, I want to put Sr. Jeanne Marie's name onto it and I want to thank her for the life she has shared with us in this community.