Sister Jane Behlmann

January 21, 1946 - December 15, 2018

A beautiful spirit, a beautiful soul.”

Joseph and Frances (Henke) Behlmann, of St. Charles, Missouri, welcomed their daughter, Jane, January 21, 1946. Their family eventually included five daughters and two sons. Quite early in her life, Jane knew she wanted to be a religious sister. She entered the Sisters of St. Joseph September 15, 1963, and was received as Sister Frances Joseph, August 6, 1964.

Sister Jane began teaching music to intermediate and junior high students at St. Luke the Evangelist (1968). She returned to Fontbonne College from January through June (1971) to finish her bachelor’s degree in elementary music education. Afterwards, she taught music at multiple schools throughout the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

In 1976, Sister Jane applied for and was accepted as the audiovisual librarian at Fontbonne College/University – a position she held for 28 years. She completed a master’s degree in library science from Rosary College (now Dominican University) in 1982.

In 2004, she became archivist for the St. Louis province. Eventually, Jane’s desire to serve to the best of her ability drew her to become a certified archivist. That required much study and passing the test to show her skills met a universal standard.

Sister Jane was pleased to find that elusive connection to solve a mystery, or assist those who wondered about family members who were in our community or attended our schools or the dates when schools/hospitals opened, closed or even moved to new locations. Challenges great or small were met with courtesy and willingness to go that extra mile to help others find those hard to pin down answers. Your interests became hers as she searched for and delighted in finding answers to eagerly share with whoever made the request.

In Jane’s younger community days she might have been described as quite shy but during the ensuing years, she shared her voice at various performances and many Community celebrations. Her first and only performance at Fontbonne was remembered long after the actual event. On the lighter side, for a number of years, Sister Jane was part of the CSJ Singers directed by her dear friend and housemate of many years, Sister Gretchen Wagner. One duet that was a particular delight to many involved their singing an entire piece as if they were cats in conversation with one another. The only word sung was “Meow” with many different facial and voice expressions. It seemed so uncharacteristic of earlier perceptions of S. Jane!

This past summer, S. Jane played a large part in the consolidation of the archives of the Albany, Los Angeles/Hawaii and St. Louis provinces as well as those of our Congregational Office. More than one person mentioned S. Jane’s patience and expertise as the archives gradually came together. She knew what she was doing and paid attention to detail. S. Jane then became the director of this newly formed Carondelet Consolidated Archive.

Many sisters/associates enjoyed the daily email entitled “Jewels from Jane” which related something that had happened on that date in our Community history. S. Jane was never too busy to express her gratitude for any note sent to her that indicated someone’s appreciation or interest. House archives (or anything else) were also quickly acknowledged with a note of thanks.

S. Jane loved people, especially her family and friends. At her memorial service, so many shared how she sent cards or a note for every birthday, anniversary or other important event in the lives of those close to her.

“Jane made my/our world more beautiful, and I am grateful.” Suzanne Giblin, csj

Helen Oates, CSJ