Sister Janice Koelzer

January 7, 2013 by

BIRTH NAME: Mary Janice Koelzer
RELIGIOUS NAME: Sister Jacinta
PARENTS: Georgiena and Urban Koelzer
HOMETOWN: Seneca, Kan.
BSN, Marymount College, Salina; MSN in medical/surgical nursing, Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wis.; MN in pediatric nursing, University of Florida at Gainesville
1959-83   Teaching nursing, Marymount College
1983-89    Pastoral ministry, Seven Dolors Parish, Manhattan, Kan.
1988-94    Establishing and managing Duchesne Clinic , Kansas City, Kan.
1994-99    Co-coordinator of the Nazareth Motherhouse
1999-2005    Medaille Center, Salina
2005-present    Motherhouse, Concordia

As you look back on your years as a Sister of St. Joseph of Concordia, what experience or event best captures what your religious life has meant to you (and why)?

In grade school, I knew I wanted to be a nurse and thought of being a missionary for adventure.  That did not change.

The incident that captures what religious life has meant to me is when we made the effort to establish Duchesne Clinic in Kansas City, Kan. 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. Later I found out that others had looked at that area and said it was impossible to start a clinic there, particularly in such a small classroom with no plumbing and minimal electrical outlets.

But we did the impossible and gradually were allowed more rooms to renovate and occupy.

Some place I found a quote that really described us:

We the willing, led by the unknowing,
are doing the impossible for the ungrateful.
We have done so much for so long with so little,
we are now qualified to do anything with nothing.

In summary, my life has been about doing the impossible. Our Blessed Mother was told by an angel, “Nothing is impossible with God.”

When I was diagnosed with incurable non-Hodgkins lymphoma cancer, I thought I’d be dead in a short time. That  was 15 years ago. With numerous IV chemotherapy treatments and a good oncologist and staff, I’m still here.

Only by the grace of God is such a life possible.  I am grateful to God, my family, friends and all who support me along the way of this adventure.


3 Responses to “Sister Janice Koelzer”

  1. Pat Giersch Morley on August 9th, 2013 8:32 am

    Best wishes To Sr. Jacinta!! We all enjoyed a wonderful experience with her at the St. John’s Hospital nurses residence! It truly was an extended family for most of us in the class of 1961.
    My heartfelt thanks for her service and may God Bless her always.

  2. Marilyn Malir Mattas on August 7th, 2013 4:57 pm

    Congratulations to one of my favorite nuns for your 60 years of service!! It seems that “service” is not on the top of most lists during these difficult economical times. It still makes me feel so good when I can give of my time without pay. You instilled that in me 55 years ago. And I thank you!!

    It was great seeing you at our 40th reunion.
    Marilyn Malir Mattas

  3. Barbara Hammond on August 7th, 2013 10:30 am

    Congratulations on celebrating your 60 years with the Sisters of St. Joseph in Concordia. Many thanks for the mentoring and education you provided to me and the Marymount College School of Nursing Class of 1961!!!! Many beautiful memories.
    Barbara (Coulson) Hammond

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