Born to Life
September 30, 1929
June 13, 1946
Born to Eternal Life
August 8, 2023
Mt. Olivet Cemetery
Sister Janet was born in Hartford, Wisconsin, on September 30, 1929, so next month she would have been 94 years old. She was one of the three children of Loretta and Nicholas Heder. Her sister, Erna, died at a young age, and her brother, Earl, never married, so there are no nieces or nephews to mourn her loss. However, there is a cousin, Lindy Rohlinger, who remembers her fondly, coming to all the family celebrations. She loved a party!
After entering the School Sisters of St. Francis in 1946, Sister served in Illinois and mostly in Wisconsin. She was fortunate enough to teach and live in Slinger, her hometown, in her parent’s home for 35 years. She ministered as an elementary school teacher and principal, but teaching art was her gift, which she loved, especially with first and third graders, her favorites. You can imagine there are generations of people who connected often with her at St. Peter’s Parish in Slinger.
Others who will miss her are her dear friends from the parish. The Friends of Faith meet every Monday at Mass and then go out for breakfast. Sister was always happy to be part of that group, and co-led it up to the time when she left Slinger in 2022 to move to Chapel Garden, a senior apartment residence in the renovated St. Joseph Convent in Milwaukee. Some of them also attended a Thursday evening Bible study program. Sister Janet was a great resource to them.
As a teacher, she was also a learner. She often was present at the Catholic Answers sessions after the Sunday liturgy. She learned to play Scrabble in recent years and was active in several organizations, including the International Delta Kappa Gamma Society; Washington-Ozaukee County Reading Council (Sister had earned a master’s degree in reading from Clarke College in Dubuque, Iowa, in 1976); and she was an auxiliary member of the Legion of Mary.
Because of her German heritage, Sister Janet often went to the historical society in Hartford for research on the German homesteaders in the area. Her German relatives kept in contact with her and visited with Sister Janet every two years. They also came here as recently as two years ago. Sister was a great host, taking them to all the interesting spots in Milwaukee.
In Sister’ retirement she took a class in making icons. She painted the one on the cover of your Order of Worship. She was a very good artist, sharing her talents. As a tailor and seamstress, Sister assisted a sewing group in the parish who made clothes for poor children in foreign countries. She also judged pies at the parish fund raiser, since she was an excellent pie baker.
Although Sister Janet loved people, she was fiercely independent and was not afraid to go by herself to plays, movies, music productions, and lectures. She knew what she wanted or needed and made it known.
Her love of God filled her life and overflowed into her relationships. She encouraged several young men to become priests. Those who knew her will remember her as an amazing woman.
Dear Sister Janet, may you reap the rewards of your many years as a faithful follower of Jesus, listening to His word and acting on it. Intercede for us.