On Nov. 9, 1930 the eighth child was born to George and Mary Kieler on a farm in Kieler, Wisconsin, a town founded by their ancestors. The little girl was named Angeline and baptized at Immaculate Conception Church. Angeline said, “Being the youngest of eight, I was a bit spoiled.”
All the children attended Immaculate Conception School, taught by the School Sisters of St. Francis. Angeline recalled that it was in third grade that Sister Chrysantha Klaas, a second cousin, came to the classroom and told about her life in China and in the Concentration Camp. So in third grade, Angeline wanted to be a Sister and go to China. She said, “I put that out of my head real fast until after eighth grade. Then my teacher, Sister Convolene said she wanted to take one of the girls along with her to the Convent in Milwaukee. Smart-mouthed, I volunteered one of the other girls!”
There were eighteen in her graduating class in 1944 but only a few went to high school. Angeline stayed at home and helped her Mom. A year later Sister Audrey
came to Kieler. Angeline would go up and help her clean the classroom and then they would talk. Her interest in the convent increased but she still had “too many things to do!” Finally, on August 31, 1950 Angeline entered St. Joseph Convent, Milwaukee at age 18.
As a postulant she began her high school studies. She also found rules and regulations quite difficult. Reception came quickly on June 13, 1951 and she was given the name Sister Justa. During the Novitiate she continued her high school classes. She enjoyed her Novitiate and said, “Sister Archelaus was my savior!”
Soon Profession Day, June 21, 1953 arrived and for Sister Justa it was a day of great rejoicing. She said, “I made it! I wasn’t sent home.”
Preparation for her ministry as a teacher began that summer at Alverno College and continued through the year. Sister Justa received Bachelor of Science in Education degree from Alverno College and later a Master’s degree in Pastoral Studies from Loyola University.
Mission life began in 1954 at St. Clement’s School in Lancaster, WI. It was soon discovered she was missioned too close to home. Relatives were all around the area. So for the next 35 years Sister Justa taught in Illinois. Most of her teaching years she had the primary grades and was an excellent primary teacher. At St. Petronelle’s in Glen Ellyn she met 2 future members of our Community and their families: Fran Cunningham and Maureen McCarthy. During these years she was principal several times but she always seemed to “wiggle out” of that as soon as she could. Sister Angeline said, “Most of my pleasant memories come from teaching primary children. I’ve had a lot of good experiences with them.”
During Vatican ll as changes in religious life came, Sister Justa returned to her baptismal name, Angeline. For the last 25 years of her ministry she returned to St. Clement’s School in Lancaster, WI and lived with Sister Eva Marie Lorscheter and at times with 2 Sisters from other Orders, Sister Donna and Sister Rosemarie. During these years Sister Angeline received the Kohl award for being an outstanding primary teacher.
In 2009 Sister Angeline retired from teaching but not from school. She became the director of the “Latchkey” program, was a tutor and a substitute teacher.
For Sister Angeline everything wasn’t about teaching. For several summers she volunteered in Kentucky and one year in Mississippi. She was a fan of the Brewers and Packers and she could enjoy a Miller Lite! She loved to play cards and also make cards. Sister Angie was very creative in doing things for school and for events. Now that she was back in the Lancaster area she was able to share with her family. She loved her nieces and nephews and they loved her. Her Christmas letters were memorable. She had already begun her collection for 2022. Here is her wish: “May your Christmas be blessed with the love of family, the warmth of home, and the joy of Christ’s birth.”
In 2014 change came for Sister Angeline, Sister Eva Marie, and St. Clement’s in Lancaster. The Sisters retired and moved to Maria Linden in Milwaukee where they had independent apartments across from each other and St. Clement’s Pariah and School were without 2 familiar faces. At Maria Linden both Sisters were very active and volunteered as drivers and companions and helped wherever needed. However, soon each of them developed health problems and in 2017 and 2019 Sister Angie’s cancer returned. She completed radiation both times and rejoiced that she was cancer-free. Sister Angie had to give up her volunteer jobs but she always had such a positive attitude about life. After her last hospitalization she came from the hospital to Sacred Heart in August of 2022 and she said, “No more hospitals!” After a month she had a slight stroke but her wish of “no more hospitals” was respected.
Through all these challenges, Sister Angie, you taught us how to live, how to love, and how to die. Thank you for your 71 years of faithful, Franciscan living.