Sister Jane Reehorst, BVM (Marcello), 88, died Nov. 10, 2013, at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation will be from 9–11 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 15, 2013, in the Marian Hall Chapel followed by a prayer service at 11 a.m. Funeral liturgy will be at 1:30 p.m. Burial is in the Mount Carmel cemetery.
She was born June 28, 1925, to Raymond E. and Marcella Mary McDonough Reehorst. She entered the BVM congregation from Immaculate Conception Parish, Alhambra, Calif., on Sept. 8, 1951. She professed first vows on March 19, 1954, and final vows on July 16, 1959.
Sister Jane was an elementary and high school teacher in Montrose and Los Angeles, Calif.; Kansas City, Mo.; Chicago; and Waterloo, Iowa. She served in parish ministry in Denver, Colo. and San Luis Obispo, Calif. She was a writer, counselor for Catholic Charities, and teacher assistant in the Los Angeles area.
She was preceded in death by her parents and brother Richard. She is survived by a brother John (Carole) Reehorst, Sierra Madre, Calif.; nieces and nephews; and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 62 years.
Sister Jane Reehorst, BVM (Marcello)
Marian Hall Chapel, Nov. 15, 2013
Good afternoon and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Jane Reehorst.
“Jane was active in teaching, storytelling, counseling, and every aspect of parish ministry throughout her years with the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Her belief that children have the capacity for—indeed a talent for—meditative prayer has led her to create Scripture meditations for children.” These words by Jane’s publisher, found on the back cover of her Guided Meditations for Children books, summarize her life’s mission.
Jane Frances was born on June 28, 1925, in Cleveland, Ohio, to Raymond E. and Marcella Mary McDonough Reehorst. She was the eldest child and was later joined by brothers John and Richard. After completing three years of high school in Ohio, Jane graduated from John McDonogh High School in New Orleans. She attended Soulé Business College in New Orleans, but left after one year to accept an office job at Pacific Electric Railway Co. in Los Angeles.
Jane entered the congregation on Sept. 8, 1951, and received the name Marcello upon her reception on March 19, 1952. While in the novitiate, she thoroughly enjoyed acting, dancing and singing in plays for the sisters at Mount Carmel. She had a sparkle in her eye and would throw herself into every production with great vim and vigor. Years later, Jane drew on her artistic talents playing the role of the “Storymaker.” Using puppets, she shared her original stories such as “Fluffy, the Baby Eagle Who Would Rather Walk” and “Cappy, the Curious Caterpillar” and encouraged children to create and share their own stories.
After professing her first vows on March 19, 1954, Jane spent the next 14 years teaching in elementary schools. She was missioned in California at Holy Redeemer in Montrose and St. Bernard in Los Angeles; in Missouri at St. Francis Xavier and St. Catherine, both in Kansas City; at Our Lady Help of Christians in Chicago; and at Columbus High School in Waterloo, Iowa, where she taught art. Jane was a pastoral assistant in Denver, Colo., for 11 years, serving the parishes of St. Patrick, St. John the Evangelist and Church of the Good Shepherd. She also worked as the RCIA Coordinator in San Luis Obispo, Calif., and was a member of the Catholic Charities Family Life Council and a computer education specialist in Monrovia, Calif.
In a Salt article about Jane, Sister Maureen Sheehan wrote, “While living in Denver, Jane worked on . . . the series Living the Good News, a lectionary-based religious education program used in classrooms throughout the country by Catholics and other Christian denominations . . . Jane’s career of writing guided meditations was an attempt in Jane’s words, to ‘take spirituality out of the monastery and into the hands of the laity.’’ Through her life and her writings, Jane taught many how to hear the “tiny whispering sound” of God as Elijah did on the mountain.
Jane lived 62 years as a BVM and said, “I was moved, drawn to this life, I believe led by the Spirit. The most rewarding part about this life is living with sisters who have the same cause, deepening our relationship with God and reaching out to others. I am growing into a deeper understanding and love of God and experiencing ‘to let go and let God’—and it works!”
Jane was incredibly full of life and lived a life filled with a deep love for God. May we who celebrate Jane’s entrance into eternal life follow her example and keep God the center, the joy and the love of our lives.