Who is Sister Jane Weber? She says of herself, “I am plain Jane. What you see is what you get.” She accepts herself as she is, which enables her to love, accept and welcome everyone else as they are. Hers is a joyful spirit, always seeing the good in others.
S. Jane was born on November 21, 1927, the fourth of 12 children in rural St. Martin, Minn. As the oldest girl, she soon became “mother’s helper.” She attended District #125, a country school of eight grades with one teacher. Her teacher was understanding and allowed her to take fifth and sixth grades in one year so she could finish school sooner to help her mother. Although S. Jane loved children and cared for her younger siblings, she also felt the call to join the Benedictines. When I, the next one in family rank, graduated from eighth grade, she could freely leave home for the convent.
After her first monastic profession, S. Jane was assigned to work in the monastery kitchen. At the time, the community had a large vegetable garden. The kitchen sisters did a lot of canning, often working through the night, yet they showed up for early Morning Prayer. Young live-in girls known as “maids” helped in the kitchen, and S. Jane was their prefect for five years. Her positive attitude and love of community attracted some of them to join the community.
S. Jane served as cook and homemaker for the sisters in Long Prairie, Minn., and at St. Mary’s Convent in St. Cloud, Minn. While at St. Mary’s, she was chosen to go to Japan in 1962, a total surprise for she had not volunteered for the foreign missions. This proved to be a wonderfully broadening experience for her.
In 1972, the Winter Olympics were held in Japan, and the Japanese Newspaper was having a difficult time finding translators. Aware that American sisters were teaching in the school, they asked if any could be translators. S. Jane knew the German spoken at home, Japanese mostly learned from the kindergarten children, and English. She was not afraid to make mistakes in speaking Japanese, and she attended the Pre-Olympics in 1971. Being a translator for the Olympics was beyond S. Jane’s hopes, and she will never forget that experience.
Upon returning from Japan in 1975, S. Jane was assigned to Red Lake Indian Mission in Red Lake, Minn.—another new culture and people. She loved the variety of work: in school, meeting the children, workers and staff and serving the children’s lunches, as well as being a parish visitor and being involved in domestic work at the convent. In 1989, S. Jane was called back to Saint Benedict’s Monastery to be the motherhouse coordinator, where she later joined the housekeeping team. She enjoyed both the people with whom she worked and those she served.
In 2018, S. Jane moved to Saint Scholastica Convent, our retirement center in St. Cloud. She likes the more leisurely pace of life there. S. Jane attends Eucharist streamed from chapel with the sisters in the memory care hall and is their communion minister on assigned days. She also takes her turn praying the rosary with them.
S. Jane continues her love of manual labor by daily folding the wash for the sisters on the nursing floor, and her hobbies include embroidering dish towels for the gift shop, playing scrabble, and visiting with guests and sisters, including her classmate at nearby St. Benedict’s Senior Community. She always takes time to be totally present with others.
Profile written by Bernadette Weber, OSB