sister mary jane kappus
June 6, 1923 - April 30, 2010
Caspar and Mary Budrow Kappus' only child, Mary Jane, was born in Eau Claire, Wis. A year after finishing high school, Jane entered the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration where she received the education needed for her ministry of music teacher, classroom teacher, principal and local superior.
While still a FSPA, S. Jane lived with the Sisters of St. Joseph in Negaunee, Mich. Her ministry was with the Catholic newspaper where, among other things, she wrote a weekly meditation. (Later, some of these were re-written and published in her book, Take Time to Wonder.) While in Negaunee, S. Jane realized that she was drawn to the CSJ charism.
In 1975 she asked to transfer to the Sisters of St. Joseph and professed vows in 1977. S. Jane loved the Sisters of St. Joseph and loved being one. She delighted in signing her name, even on a short note, as "Jane, csj." She felt strongly that the Consensus Statement should be the heart of our living and sought to live out the intent of those words to the best of her ability.
S. Jane's creativity was a constant. She challenged herself to writing music, setting into note her own thoughts, psalms, biblical verses, community statements (such as the Consensus Statement), or whatever whimsical ideas struck her fancy. Music, whether she was listening, writing, singing or directing, fed her soul. She also enjoyed writing prose but was especially delighted at whatever poetry flowed from her pen. At other times S. Jane was busy sketching or painting. In her earlier days, "Featherfoot" the clown, in full face paint and costume, sometimes mimed her way through gatherings.
S. Jane loved to laugh. For her, trying to make others laugh, often through her quiet but quick-witted comments, was pure enjoyment. Another thing she enjoyed was water: watching water, praying by it and writing by it. Of course, being on the water in a boat with the wind blowing through her hair was even better. Reading and learning were treasured past times and she loved to share with others whatever she was reading, studying and writing. She was open to learning new things, whether recipes, types of poetry or hand work. Even though she found a lot about the computer confusing, her persistence won out in mastering a difficult computer program to assist in writing her music.
S. Jane was a thoughtful person who cared about those around her and often remembered the special occasions of others with cards or phone calls. Even in her retirement she continued her ministry of spiritual companioning and was still doing so at the time of her death.
S. Jane was a grateful person. Gratitude spilled out through her gracious smile, the light in her eyes, and her kind words. Even the smallest of actions was appreciated. Perhaps it was her laughter and her genuine interest in people (her ability to listen) that brought many to feel that S. Jane was "part of the family."
S. Jane was a loyal and faithful friend to so many: her prayer group, her small church community and those for whom she was a spiritual companion; her "poetry" friends as well as music "connections" and members of her former community; people she lived with over the years, dear friends that she quietly gathered from RCIA groups in Texas and St. Louis, and the friends from parishes where she ministered; friends from her beloved Jesuit retreat house in Wisconsin, her cousins, the CSJ community that welcomed her and many others she had met along the way. Loving, gentle, quiet, prayerful, deeply spiritual and dedicated to her God are apt descriptions for S. Jane.
"Grasp life with both hands.
Clutch its tendrils green with hope.
Inhale deeply, live!" (J. Kappus)
S. Helen Oates