sister jacqueline muster
August 2, 1928-November 17, 2009
"Gracious, hospitable, friendly and outgoing" are words that wonderfully describe S. Jacqueline Muster, known by all of us as Jackie. Even in these last years when her dementia deprived her of short term memory, she was warmly welcoming.
S. Jackie was born in St. Louis on August 2, 1928. Her parents. Carl and Marian Homes Muster, welcomed her as the youngest of three daughters, two of whom would become Sisters of St. Joseph.
Jackie said their family was poor but she and her sisters never wanted for anything. Her father was a mechanic at the Chevrolet plant until the Depression when he lost his job. Her mother worked at Stix Baer & Fuller when she could. Both parents sacrificed for their children and worried about providing necessary food. Jackie recounted how generous neighbors brought food to the family saying, "We had all this left over and we thought you could use it" or "We thought you'd like to taste this new recipe." During World War II Jackie's father found a good job and the family felt more secure.
S. Jackie attended Blessed Sacrament School and after graduation went to Rosati-Kain, where she met the Sisters of St. Joseph. She knew at that time she wanted to enter the community like her older sister, S. Mary Carol, but her parents insisted that she work first. After graduation she worked for three years for the Bell Telephone Company.
While it was hard for her parents to see Jackie leave home, she nevertheless went with their blessing and entered Carondelet on September 15, 1950. On March 19, 1951, she entered the novitiate and received the name S. Mary Michael.
For most of her active ministry, S. Jackie gave of herself as an elementary school teacher. Sent to the South in 1953, for the next 13 years she taught in Augusta, Valdosta, Atlanta, Brunswick and Marietta, Ga. Although S. Jackie never lived with her sister, S. Mary Carol, who was also teaching in Georgia, being near her gave each of them time for visits and opportunities to be with their parents, who eventually moved to Georgia.
In 1969 S. Jackie returned to St. Louis and taught at Holy Name School. There she continued teaching primary age children, a blessing, she said, for she felt it a privilege to prepare children to receive the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist for the first time. From 1969-1987 she taught in schools in St. Louis: Holy Name, St. Patrick/All Saints, Holy Guardian Angels, St. Blaise, St. Jude Day Care Center and St. Gregory School. During those years she either taught in the school or served in the parish. As pastoral minister, she comforted the sick by listening to their stories and encouraging them to join her in prayer. She took strength in knowing that she could bring a joyful few minutes to the otherwise long days the elderly spent in their homes.
In February of 1992 S. Jackie was recognized by the Ritenour School District as the "Star" Teacher of the year. One of her students nominated her for her excellence in teaching and for having had a great, positive impact on the lives of her students.
From 1992 to 1999 S. Jackie worked at the reception desk and switchboard at Carondelet. Faithful and hospitable while there, she greeted hundreds of callers and visitors. For her dedicated service province leadership thanked her for her gracious manner of representing the Sisters of St. Joseph to others, saying she was the "charism in action."
S. Jackie was just that...an exemplary Sister of St. Joseph. She never dominated any conversation; she was always solicitous for others and tried to make everyone comfortable in her presence. She was faithful and prayerful. Her last months were filled with suffering but she never complained and tried to accept her pain as a gift from God. God now has the gift of eternal salvation and everlasting glory for her. May she rest in God's peace.
S. Kathleen Karbowski