Sister Janice Koelzer, longtime nursing teacher, dies in Concordia

September 1, 2016 by

Sister Janice Koelzer

Sister Janice Koelzer

Sister Janice Koelzer, well known for teaching nursing for more than two decades at Marymount College, died early this morning (Sept. 1) in Concordia. She was 82.

A vigil service will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 2, in the Sacred Heart Chapel at the Nazareth Motherhouse, with Sister Marilyn Wall as the eulogist. Her funeral Mass will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 3, also in the Motherhouse chapel, with Father Damian Richards and Father James Hoover presiding . Burial will follow in the Nazareth Convent Cemetery.

Sister Janice was born Mary Janice Koelzer on June 20, 1934, in Seneca, Kan., the daughter of Georgiena and Urban Koelzer. She entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia on Feb. 2, 1953. On Aug. 14, 1953, Janice received the habit of the Sisters of St. Joseph and was given the name Sister Mary Jacinta, later returning to her baptismal name. She pronounced first vows on Aug. 15, 1954, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1957.

She earned her bachelor of nursing degree from Marymount College in Salina, and then a master’s in nursing from Marquette University in Milwaukee and a master’s in pediatric nursing at the University of Florida at Gainseville.

In 1959, she began a 24-year career at Marymount in nursing education. In 1983, she shifted to pastoral ministry and served at Seven Dolors Parish in Manhattan, Kans., for several years.

In 1988, she moved to Kansas City, Kan., where she founded the Duchesne Clinic. After establishing that clinic for the homeless and poor, she managed it until 1994 when she returned to Concordia.

She then served as co-coordinator of the Nazareth Motherhouse for five years before moving to the Medaille Center in Salina.

In 2005, she retired to the Motherhouse in Concordia.

When she celebrated her 60th jubilee in 2013, Sister Janice said the effort to establish the Duchesne Clinic “captures what religious life has meant to me.”

She said: “We looked at an old school building that hadn’t been occupied for 10 years. The fourth-grade classroom that was shown to us was full of old statues and pews from the church next door.  It was there we found the body of a young man named Kavi, whom we’d seen at the food kitchen when we did health assessments. He had been homeless and sick. He, along with St. Philippine Rose Duchesne and others, was my inspiration to carry on.

The Duchesne Clinic for the homeless and poor people without health insurance began there. It continued to grow with the help of generous professional volunteers and donations and, more than 20 years later, it continues to function.”

Sister Janice was preceded in death by her parents, one brother and one sister. She is survived by two sisters, Mrs. Jerrie Smith of Lakewood, Colo., and Jo Richards of Beloit, Kan.

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Memorials for Sister Janice Koelzer may be given to the Sisters of St. Joseph Health Care/Retirement Fund or the Apostolic Works of the Sisters; P.O Box 279, Concordia KS 66901. To make an online donation in Sister Janice’s memory, click on the button below:






One Response to “Sister Janice Koelzer, longtime nursing teacher, dies in Concordia”

  1. S. Susan Klepper on September 1st, 2016 12:09 pm

    Condolences to Sr.Janice’s family and her Sisters in Community. ..may she rest in peace. Such a loss.

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