Sister Janet Rose, OSF
Sister Janet Rose reflects on her call to be a Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity.
Hometown: Antigo, Wisconsin
I was born on May 4, 1943, the first child of Elmer and Dorothy Rose, dairy farmers in Antigo, Wisconsin. When I was almost three weeks old my parents and my Godparents (my maternal grandparents) took me to our parish Church, St. John’s, in Antigo to be baptized. I was given the name “Judith Rose” but everyone called me “Judy”. Since my parents lived in the country I went to Longfellow Public School, the nearby one room country school.
But that was not my total education. As soon as I started first grade at Longfellow, my parents enrolled me in Saturday Catechism classes at St. John’s Parish. It was there that I met our Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity. I was fortunate to have our Sisters as catechism teachers for all eight years of my elementary education. That was not my only experience with sisters, however. Since I was blessed with nine more siblings, three of which died soon after birth, I also was familiar with the Sisters who staffed the Hospital in Antigo, the Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph from Canada. The presence of Sisters in my life was God’s way of helping me to think that perhaps He is calling me to give my life to Him like they did.
Sister St. Thomas Wegman and Sister Harold [Ann Hennes] were some of my upper grade Catechism teachers. They were excellent teachers in my opinion, and I learned a lot about my faith from them. Through God’s grace, our family prayer life was also instrumental in my desire to enter religious life. It was just understood at that time that the whole family would attend Mass together on Sunday morning. As I got older, if there were stations, or some other special church service going on I would ask my dad to take us to church since we lived out in the country. One day when I asked him he jokingly said, “When you get big you can LIVE next to the church.” Little did he or I know at that time that is just what would happen. God works in wonderful, often in surprising ways.
Sister Edmund Dirkman, who was superior at St. John’s Convent in Antigo was very helpful in my early discernment to enter religious life. She arranged a visit to Holy Family Convent for my mother and I. After my visit I felt a great desire to enter the Convent. I applied and was accepted. On August 25, 1957, my parents brought me to the convent so I could answer God’s call. Two years later I was joined at the convent by my sister, Janet, whose name I received when I became a novice. As many of you know she took the name of “Sister Joyce.” Joyce was our younger sister who entered in 1964. When she was received she became “Sister Joy”.
I began teaching in 1965 as a classroom teacher and that was my main apostolate until 2017 when I became a reading interventionist, a position I still hold today. God called me to teach in six different dioceses in the United States. I have had the opportunity to walk together with people in different cultural settings. I have found each culture to be beautiful because God was there residing in the hearts of his people. I have found each to be personally enriching, mirroring the wonderful diversity in God’s creation. I have found that not only did I teach God’s people but they also taught me many wonderful things.
My advice to someone discerning religious life is “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest” (Luke 10:2) If I would have a chance to live my life over I would choose religious life again.
“I have found a life given to God to be infinitely rewarding and I humbly thank Him for choosing me.”