Sister Peter Julian Werner

Sister Peter Julian Werner

Born to Life
February 4, 1934
Chicago, Illinois

August 12, 1957

Born to Eternal Life
January 15, 2024
Froedtert Hospital
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Mt. Olivet Cemetery
Milwaukee, Wisconsin


Born to Herman and Bridget Agnes Werner on February 4, 1934, Sister Peter Julian received the name Agnes at Baptism at St. Andrew Parish in Chicago. The family lived on Oakley Avenue. Agnes attended Alexander Graham Bell Public School for her elementary education. She graduated from St. Gregory High School in Chicago in 1951. On September 9, 1956, Agnes entered the School Sisters of St. Francis, and on August 12, 1957, was received into the community. Upon reception into the School Sisters of St. Francis, Agnes was given the name Sister Peter Julian. She chose to hold the name to the end of life. Peter Julian continued her education having attended Alverno College, University of Nebraska, and Creighton University for studies in business education, art history, and art.

After novitiate in the community, Peter Julian was assigned to Ryan High School in Omaha as a teacher. Fourteen years later found her in Milwaukee with Bulfin Printing as a graphic artist for thirteen years. Following employment at Bulfin, Peter Julian joined the artist community at the Fine Line in St. Charles, IL. A School Sister living group comprised of Sisters Denise Kavanagh and Geraldine McGovern lived in one house, then another house, and finally the barn where Peter Julian joined them. Each building housed the Fine Line as it was growing. Their dedication to the arts flourished. During those years, Peter Julian won a prestigious award for calligraphy from the Newberry Library in Chicago where her calligraphy was displayed. After 24 years associated with the Fine Line Creative Arts Center, Peter Julian was employed by the United States Province for close to thirteen years.

We know Sister Peter Julian as a private person who, when speaking of her parents, brother and sisters, did so with pride and affection. She treasured her nieces and nephews appreciating their constant support, generosity, and for making it possible for her to attend family gatherings and celebrations. Incidentally, she really appreciated that they introduced her to her favorite subway sandwich, Jersey Mike.

A story heard often is how her mother saved assiduously for a bike which was given Agnes at 8th grade graduation. She could then hang grocery bags on the handlebars, saving her mother from carrying a heavy load. The bike took her to Lake Michigan, Riverview Amusement Park to ride the infamous roller coaster, the “ Bobs,” and most likely to Wrigley Field to root for the Chicago Cubs. Sister Peter Julian remained a loyal fan of the Chicago Cubs and Chicago Bears throughout her life.

A postulancy and novitiate memory from a classmate is that both were assigned similar duties: to operate the elevator and to lock all convent doors after 9 p.m. Sister Almerida always left them a scrumptious dessert in the convent kitchen when the duty was done. Sharing a late-night dessert supposedly keeping the Great Silence??

Before entering the convent, Peter Julian had secretarial experience and then took similar courses at Alverno College where she mastered the art of being PRECISE! Along with Sisters Charlita, Meredith, and Madonna Ann, precision and accuracy in their ledgers was all-important. Exact columns, essential sub-titles, and totals that were underlined with a ruler in red, characterized their work.

Sister Peter Julian had a depth whereby she pondered situations utilizing her sense of organization and her ability to visualize. Two sisters shared (for this writing) that, when they asked Peter Julian to make cards for them, her penetrating questions left them knowing they had work to do. It was their card, not her card. One sister was “deeply awed by her ability to breathe in information, culture, and experience and breathe out visual art. It may have looked effortless but was the product of ever-expanding reflection on her part.” This sister also shared, “It was as if she drank life in and transformed it in the way she made her art happen.” Despite computer technology challenges, this graphic artist managed composition, balance, alignment, contrast, repetition, etc. in the world of art she shared with us.

Sister Peter Julian was a person of prayer. In postulancy and novitiate days, she enjoyed walking through the darkened motherhouse chapel going into the Adoration Chapel to make late evening and early morning holy hours. In her last years living at Clement Manor in Greenfield, Wisconsin, on the days she walked indoors, she looked at each name on each door and said a prayer for that person. Her door displayed a small thought-provoking graphic art depiction fitting the liturgical season of the church calendar: Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter. In the Clement Manor chapel, one would find Peter Julian in her chair, back row against the wall, last seat near the door during services but also at other times during the day and evening when the chapel was darkened.

We go now with this thought from a sister in Illinois who shared life with Peter Julian in so many ways during the last years in Illinois and then in the more recent Wisconsin years. “Sharing memories of Peter Julian with each other is a grace: it leads to new life among us.”

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Sister Peter Julian

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