Sister Josephine Seier was born in Raeville, Nebraska, the fifth of eight children born to Elizabeth Dingwerth and August Seier. She grew up on a farm and learned to appreciate nature and the wonders of farm life. She enjoyed all the fun of a family doing things together, work and play alike. After nine years of Benedictine education, she was received into the School Sisters of St. Francis in 1941.
Josephine, or Josie, or even better yet to her liking, Jo, served as a homemaker for 25 years in convents in Iowa, South Dakota, Illinois, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Minnesota. During those years, she enjoyed meeting the needs of the sisters and doing little things, like making butter-pat roses for feast days and holidays to make those days extra special. Life was filled with challenges, but she always sought to find the brighter side of life and enjoy her ministry with the sisters.
When the changes to religious life came about after Vatican II, Josie went to the University of Nebraska at Omaha and received a certificate in Gerontology. From that time on, she ministered with the elderly in different ways. Her wanderlust for serving and experiencing life led her to places like New Mexico, Arizona, California, Illinois, Wisconsin, and back to her home state Nebraska.
Always one who liked to be creative in her ministry, she organized things like hat shows, long before the Red Hat ladies became popular. Whether it was visiting a homebound elder or organizing a group at the local nursing home for prayer, she shared her boundless energy and enthusiasm for life.
When the going got tough, as it did some days, she would invite close friends to join her is some “revenge” - for Josie that was a big dish of soft serve vanilla ice cream covered with homemade hot fudge. How could the world not look better after such a decadent treat?
In the mid-1990s, Josie moved to Maria Linden in Rockford to be with her blood sister, Sister Marie Ann Seier, as she was dying from cancer. After Marie's death, Josie continued her work with the elderly until 2004, when it became time for her to close that part of her life’s journey. She moved to Campbellsport where she could minister with the sisters, using her training in reflexology. During those years she was able to further pursue one of her lifelong interests of reading, especially those historical novels she so enjoyed.
Josie, from her life experience, left some words of wisdom for us. She said, “Through all my life, I realized I have a sense of humor, love of nature, desire to be creative, and a will to be helpful. That spirit has helped me to deal with difficult happenings on my journey. For that I praise and thank God.”
Finally, she wanted us to know that her best “degree” in life was her USC degree: Using Common Sense, So even now, we experience her sense of lightheartedness and humor.
And so we are here today to thank Josie for sharing her life, her laughter, and her common sense with us and with those whose lives she touched in her ministry all these years. We treasure your life and the gifts you shared with us. We say, “Well done good and faithful servant!” and bid you farewell as you begin your eternal life in heaven with God. Our faith tells us that one day we will join you in that eternal kingdom, so today’s farewell is really a “We’ll see you later.”
Thank you, Josie, for the gift of your life and your love. We love you. We will miss you. We will see you again when we join you i