Sister Lois Jean grew up with her brother, John, and their parents Barbara and Louis, in Cicero, Illinois. Some of her earliest childhood memories include feeling great joy when the Benedictine Sisters, would arrive at the beginning of each new school year at Holy Mount Parish. She recalls, too, her cousin instructing her to be nice to the ‘half Sisters’ (those who did not wear a ring and were in training) or they might leave the convent.
Sister Lois Jean recalls warmly how kind the priests were to the children. They would flood the play yard in the winter so the children could skate and take them to a toboggan hill. When she was 8 or 9 years old, Sister Lois Jean recalls seeing the movie “The Little Flower” and it was then that she told her mother she wanted to enter the convent. She was a bit of a character, too! She would put a scarf on her head and pretend to be a Sister and then she would explain to her mother that she could not work or help with chores because she had to pray!
When she was 16, and on the occasion of one of the Benedictine Sisters’ 50th Jubilee, Sister Lois Jean first came to see Sacred Heart Chapel. She found the monastery to be so peaceful and she felt God was calling her. She remembers being drawn to the Statue of the Sacred Heart with his arms outstretched in welcome. Her mother counseled her to wait two years and attend Sacred Heart Academy to be sure she could live away from home and in community. When she was 18, her father drove her to the monastery. On the way, he pulled the car over and told her, “Lois, this is your future home. Once you enter, you are there for life. You will need to live through tough times and keep your commitment. She took her perpetual vows in 1958.
Sister Lois Jean taught for several years and has since then helped in many areas of monastery life: laundry, working in the fields, sewing. Then she found her true calling – caring for babies and young children of families who needed daycare and asked the Sisters to help. Sister Lois Jean remembers fondly, the youngsters she cared for, especially her good friend Ernie Stark who spent time at the monastery as a young man while his mother worked.
These days you will find Sister Lois Jean cheerfully staffing the monastery reception desk. Too, she has responsibilities for preparing the chapel for Mass. Her hobbies include embroidery and playing Sodoku. She loves to watch animal shows and is a Jeopardy fan. She welcomes a return to the quiet, private monastery environment upon completion of the renovation work.