Sister Josephine Kallus, OSB, comes from LaGrange, Texas, one of twelve children of Robert and Cecelia Kallus. Her large family lived on a farm where they grew vegetables and had dairy cows. “The Kallus sisters” have a rather unusual relationship with the Benedictines. Five of the family’s nine daughters joined the community. When Josephine was young and still living in Texas, two of her sisters, Virginia and Angelica were both writing to her and encouraging her to consider a life in community – but neither of those two knew the other was writing! It must have been destiny.
Josephine attended the Alamo Beauty College after high school and was a hairdresser in San Antonio at a well known hotel. During that period, she had trouble with one of her legs and had to have surgery. This active young woman was restrained in bed on her back for twenty-one days. Josephine prayed to the Blessed Mother and made a promise that if she recovered and could get up again, she would dedicate her life to the Lord’s service. Up she got! She honored her promise and joined the Benedictine community in 1944. She recalls that it was difficult to tell her parents that the fifth daughter was leaving the family to go into community. Her father had a good sense of humor – he commented, “If all my daughters enter, I’ll have to enter, too!”
In the ‘50’s and ‘60s, Sister Josephine was busy cooking for the Sisters who were working the missions. She has always enjoyed doing things for others and making others happy and is willing to do whatever is needed. She reflects, “I love my community. It’s my family now”.
In the mid-60’s, when the Sisters were no longer required to cover their heads, there was a need again for a hairdresser in the community. Sister Josephine took a refresher course in Joliet and became the community’s hairdresser. Friends of the community donated a chair and all the hairdressing equipment. Josephine also learned to drive and has for years now helped out by taking other Sisters to appointments or to the train or airport.
Sister Josephine welcomes all the new residents at Villa St. Benedict. She looks forward to the opportunity to make them feel welcome and to help make their days easy. “What greater reward can you have”, she says “than serving others and helping them?”