Alice was one of nine children born to Margaret and Frank Nytes in rural New Prague, Minnesota on October 22, 1928. Alice had 5 brothers- her Reverend brother, Raymond, Leander, Walter , Florian, and Cyril and 3 sisters - Stella , Ludmilla, and Evelyn. Growing up on a farm and being the youngest of the four girls, Alice had much time for outdoor activities. Since her mother had enough kitchen help, she would say to Alice, “Go out and see what the boys are doing.” As a result, she grew up loving the freedom of the outdoors and the beauty of nature. Weekends were always special since there were cousins from both sides of the family who lived close by. Somehow, they all survived all the daring and often dangerous adventures they would often decide to do.
Alice’s family was deeply religious. Morning and evening prayers together were a must, and the recitation of the rosary was added to the evening prayers during May and October. The children attended public school. They received religious instructions early on Monday and Friday mornings before their regular school day classes. A third period of instruction was held in church on Sunday afternoons before Vespers and Benediction. These were conducted by the pastor, and the parents were also expected to attend. This was great motivation for the parents to do more instructing at home.
Alice’s oldest brother, Ray, entered the seminary when she was only three. Alice always looked forward to his coming home; since, he made the best Corpus Christi bouquets any little girl would be proud to carry in a procession.
Alice entered the convent in 1942, at the age of thirteen. Here she joined her three aunts: Sisters Gildas, Otto, and Michaelette. Adjusting to convent life, with its restrictions and confinements, after all the freedom she had become accustomed to, was difficult at first. In writing to her brother Ray in the seminary, she would complain from time-to-time about things that were bothersome to her. Finally, he wrote back and said, “Go home if such little things make you so unhappy,” AND, that was her last complaint to him.
Alice was received into the community on June 13, 1945 and given the name Sister Jean Marie. Just eleven days later, her brother was ordained to the priesthood. Due to restrictions of the Novitiate years, she could not attend his Ordination or First Mass. This caused great sadness for the family since another brother and her sister were in military service in the South Pacific and could not be present either. Alice often remembered that it was the first time she had seen her father in tears.
After graduating from Alverno College, Sister Alice started her teaching career in 1949. After 23 years of teaching in Catholic Schools in primarily Illinois and Wisconsin she began her second ministry as a Religious Education Director. When interviewing for this job the first time, she knew there was some stiff competition. However, several months after she was given the job, she asked the Associate Pastor what had prompted him to offer her the job. He merely said, “When I asked you why you were teaching junior high science when your major was English, AND your quick response was “somebody had to do it.” This gave me the assurance that you would do whatever was necessary to make the program work to the very best of your ability.
Over the years as Alice spent her life as a teacher and a Religious Education Director, she felt the need to keep abreast with the changes in education as well as in the church. She earned two master’s degrees by attending evening, Saturday, and summer classes at Loyola University and Mundelein College, as well as taking courses in Liturgy and Scripture at the Center for Pastoral Ministry in Chicago.
After fifteen years in Religious Education, Alice opted for another change. This time at one of the Harris Banks of Chicago. She held positions of Receptionist, Supervisor, and Secretary to the President. All appreciated her punctuality and dependability as well as her willingness to help when any assistance was needed. They were aware that Alice was a Religious, so she became their source of information on topics relating to Catholicism as well as Religious Life.
In 1998, Sister Alice moved to Milwaukee to the Motherhouse where she spent four years as an Office Assistant in the International Offices. Always, no matter what was asked of her, her guiding principle seemed to be, “Somebody’s got to do it,” and her father’s addition to that, “If you’re going to do it at all, you may as well do it right the first time.”
In the fall of 2002, Alice began working in the Development Offices. Her major task was to manage the Raffle for the Fall Benefit Sale and whatever was asked of her
Alice moved with quiet ease and precision from one job to another. She used to say these moves kept her life simple and uncluttered. She loved solitude and frequently chose the quiet of her room rather than group activities. Reading, word puzzles and sewing were among her many hobbies. She also wrote short stories based on various Scripture passages as well as stories from her early childhood experiences.
She enjoyed her nieces and nephews and especially the limousine rides to breakfast at Zeb’s and then a few rides around town. Even the waitresses looked forward to these special family affairs. Who else could have such a ride?
In 2017, Sister Alice knowing she needed more care moved to Sacred Heart and joined our sisters in the ministry of prayer and presence. Like in life - so into her death, - Sister Alice moved from this life quietly and with quiet ease to her heavenly reward.
Sister Alice, may you now rest in the peace of our God.