Sister Elizabeth Leiwe was born in St. Louis, entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in 1958 and was received into the novitiate as Sister Justine Elise in 1959. She received a bachelor’s degree in education/music from Fontbonne College in 1963 and a master’s degree in theology from St. Mary’s University, San Antonio in 1975.
Sister Elizabeth began teaching on the elementary level. She taught her first year at St. Mary in Littleton, Colorado. She taught the next three years at Sacred Heart in Shawano, Wisconsin. From 1967 to 1971, she taught at Little Flower in Mobile, Alabama.
In 1971, she was the coordinator of religious education and director of the parish choir at St. Thomas the Apostle in Florissant, Missouri. For the next six years, she served the Diocese of Mobile where she initiated the Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the diocese along with starting Seton Center, a youth and young adult spirituality center.
At Saints John & James Parish in Ferguson, Missouri, she served as a pastoral associate and liturgist from 1980 to 1984. After a brief sabbatical, she served as pastoral associate and liturgist at Sacred Heart Parish in Florissant from 1985 to 1991. The following year, she served the Diocese of Belleville as the diocesan director of religious education.
From 1992 to 1994, she was a program development consultant at Aquinas Institute of Theology. And from 1993 to 1997, she was a campus minister at Parks College on the St. Louis University campus. At Washington University, at the Catholic Center and the Medical Campus, she was the campus minister for graduate students from 1997 to 2001. Sister Betty was a chaplain for the Fontbonne University-Options program from 2001 to 2003. For the next five years, she served as the regional coordinator for the mercy volunteer corps at the Mercy Retreat Center. Having worked with a full-time volunteer program with the Sisters of Mercy, she spearheaded the development of a volunteer program for the Sisters of St. Joseph at Fontbonne University in 2010.
After her retirement, she served as a volunteer.
Acting on the call to serve her CSJ community, she left retirement and took up the reins as the director of liturgy at the St. Joseph Provincial House since 2017.