By JOANNE FOX
After 50 years of service in the Diocese of Sioux City, Sister Jean Ann Rausch, FSPA, will be moving across the state to embrace a “new adventure.”
The pastoral minister at St. Michael Parish in Sioux City for the past two decades will be taking on volunteer opportunities at the Prairie Woods Spirituality Center in Hiawatha, Iowa – a ministry of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration of La Crosse, Wis. Sister Jean Ann will also be helping out at St. Pius X Parish in Cedar Rapids, where she had previously taught in its grade school.
“I have felt it a blessed privilege to minister at St. Michael Parish for the past 20 years,” she said. “The parish made me feel so welcomed from the very first day I arrived.”
A native of Fort Atkinson, Iowa, Jeanette Barbara Rausch entered the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration at age 14 in 1955, and was received into the community as Sister Jean Ann in 1959.
“After eighth grade graduation, I entered St. Rose Convent in La Crosse because I felt God calling me to be a teacher,” she said. “My parents influenced my joining this community because they were taught by the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, had relatives who were members and favored the proximity of La Crosse to facilitate visiting me as often as possible.”
Sister Jean Ann made her first profession of vows in 1961 and professed perpetual vows on Aug. 9, 1966. She was awarded her B.S. in elementary education from Viterbo University, LaCrosse and an M.S. in guidance and counseling from Creighton University, Omaha.
In 1967, Sister Jean Ann’s relationship with the Diocese of Sioux City began as a teacher at St. Lawrence School in Carroll. She segued to the faculty of St. John School in Bancroft until 1993 when she returned to school to earn a master’s in theological studies from Jesuit School of Theology, Berkley, Calif. She revisited Kossuth County to teach at Seton Grade School, Algona until being named pastoral minister at St. Michael’s in 1997.
Sister Jean Ann characterized the past 20 years as “busy ones.”
“As of June, I have worked with more than 900 in our pre-Baptism classes, almost 200 in our Grief and Growth program, just over 70 in our Mom’s group and 145 in the RCIA program,” she said. “I facilitated 320 faith sharing sessions, coordinated the Liturgical Environment committee, and weekly, I visited the hospitals and Holy Spirit Retirement Home as a Eucharistic minister.”
Sister Jean Ann admitted she will miss much at the parish when she leaves, especially those who attended the 7 a.m. daily Mass and others who made her feel like “one of the family.”
“My personal faith has been enriched by the faith sharing groups I facilitated at St. Michael Parish,” she said. “Every session I was awed by their deep faith, love and trust in the Lord.”
At age 76, when others may be thinking to slow down, Sister Jean Ann is looking forward “to this new adventure, meeting new people, assisting them in their ministry and helping them to find God in all creation,” and to being closer to her immediate family.
“My joyful heart overflows with deep gratitude to God, my family, my FSPA community and all the parishes where I have ministered for supporting me in my great desire and passion to be a Franciscan Sister and a teacher,” she said. “I have been blessed with this one glorious life. Every morning, I will continue to pray for many more years, ‘Here I am Lord,’ ready to be a loving presence to those I will encounter.”