sister frances virginia cholet

August 29, 1927 - July 30, 2015

A thoughtful caring woman filled with quiet joy  and a sense of humor

Joan Mary Cholet and her brother, were born August 29, 1927, in Jefferson City, Missouri, the first of three sets of twins (and singles!) born to Harold and Virginia (Hennessy) Cholet. When her family left Jefferson City for St. Louis, Joan attended Rosati-Kain High School. She entered the Sisters of St. Joseph September 15, 1945, receiving the habit and the name S. Frances Virginia in 1946. She received her bachelor’s degree in French from Fontbonne and her master’s in French from Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

For more than 20 years, S. Frances taught elementary school: St. Anthony, St. Louis; St. Viator, Chicago; Holy Guardian Angels, St. Louis; St. Joseph, West de Pere, Wisconsin; and Our Lady of Lourdes, University City, Missouri, where she was a teacher and then principal. While at Lourdes, S. Frances was chosen to be part of a program to launch foreign language in elementary schools, ultimately spreading from primary classes throughout all grades.

In 1969, as elementary education coordinator, S. Frances worked with CSJ principals hoping for clarity around the issue that sisters’ abilities, not just empty slots, should be priority for placement. In addition a three-year contract was created to use between sisters and parishes, partly to enable better future planning. Schools could no longer assume that they would always have sisters or even the same number that they had.

S. Frances was appointed to be the director of personnel in 1976, an appointment cut short in 1977 by her selection as one of the two assistant provincials to S. Mary Catherine O’Gorman. In 1984, she herself was selected to be the provincial superior. Sisters Joan Haas and Anne Kelly were her assistants. During this time the Development Office was set up at Carondelet; pastoral planning with Cassian Yuhaus began, and the 1986 Sesquicentennial was celebrated.

 Completing her term of office in 1988, she spent 11 years as the vice president of mission effectiveness for the Carondelet Health System.

S. Maryellen Tierney, describes S. Frances as a woman of “gentle spirit and wisdom” remembering “the ways she made sure that the philosophy, mission and vision of the Sisters of St. Joseph was present in all of our hospitals.”

CSJ Care, founded by S. Ann Chamblin to minister to the elderly at home, welcomed S. Frances in 2000. Volunteer ministry became her next choice in 2009 until she retired to Nazareth Living Center in 2011.

“It was my privilege to serve as province treasurer during Sister Frances Virginia's term ... She was extremely supportive ... ”

S. Paulette Gladis

"rances was truly a delightful person. Always quietly low key, she allowed her quiet, wonderful humor to light up any group in which she found herself…her presence always seemed to influence for the better as she brought her joy to any conversation, any gathering."

     S. Ida Robertine Berresheim

"For years Frances organized an annual get-together for our reception...She kept us together!” 

                                S. Ruth Burkart

"During our free time  at Congregational Chapter, Frances was most willing to partake in activities ... paddling a canoe, bike trekking, etc. One thing I found amusing was the aftermath of a bike spill she endured. When I went to be of assistance picking her up, I discovered the stuff I thought was hanging bloody skin turned out to be nylons. Who wears nylons underneath shorts?!"

S. Shawn Madigan

"Throughout our time in leadership each of us would receive a card and personal note from [Frances] letting us know that we were remembered in thought and prayer. You can imagine how nice that was, the smile, the warmth that came from those periodic messages—someone who had been in our position now holding us in prayer."

S. Mary Kay Hadican


Helen Oates, CSJ

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