Sister Julia Marie, CSC
(Teresa Marguerite Jacomet)
March 24, 1930 – July 28, 2019
Entered the Sisters of the Holy Cross from Toledo, Ohio on January 29, 1949
Initial Profession of Vows on February 2, 1952
Teresa Jacomet arrived at Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame, Indiana over 70 years ago to become a Sister of the Holy Cross. Her pastor in Toledo, Ohio knew her older sister Eleanor and parents, Julia Bernier Jacomet and Leonard Jacomet, a tool and die maker. Rev. Francis Bruksieker considered Teresa a good candidate for the convent because she had “a solid piety and docile personality.” Upon reception of the holy habit on August 15, 1949, Teresa received the name of her mother, Julia, and was known as Sister Julia Marie thereafter. The pastor was mistaken thinking that docility was required to persevere as a consecrated woman, but she did have a solid spirituality. The priest prayed she would “render long and loving service, for God and the Church, in the active apostolate” of Holy Cross. And that she did.
Sister Julia Marie, though educated by a diocesan religious congregation of Ursuline Sisters, was attracted to the Sisters of the Holy Cross at 18 years old because she did not want to be limited to Ohio. As Sister Rita Bray, a long-time friend and companion in ministry attested, “Julia did not want to be hemmed in. She wanted to be free to go anywhere.”
Sister Julia Marie served in Catholic elementary education as teacher and/or principal for 28 academic years (1951 to 1980). The Sisters of the Holy Cross, with its expansive geographic reach, missioned Sister Julia Marie to schools in Indiana, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Washington, D.C. Her world of the classroom began as third grade teacher at Saint Mary’s Campus School, Notre Dame, Indiana and culminated in the office as principal of St. Thomas the Apostle School in Elkhart and Holy Cross School in South Bend, both in Indiana.
In between, Sister Julia Marie managed to complete her bachelor’s degree in history at Dunbarton College of Holy Cross, Washington, D.C. in 1965. Her master’s in education, specializing in developmental reading, from Loyola University, Baltimore, Maryland in 1970, enabled her to travel Appalachian country roads leading to her next ministry with the rural poor in Lancing, Tennessee.
From 1980 to 2006 Sister made the foothills of northeastern Tennessee her home in the Diocese of Nashville (now the Diocese of Knoxville). She and Sister Rita Bray were motivated by the option for the poor taken by the Sisters of the Holy Cross responding to the signs of the times. The two women lived simply in a dilapidated farm house they called Our Lady of the Pines. They collaborated with the Brothers of Holy Cross, other religious congregations, three Catholic parishes and Protestant churches in the Lancing and Deer Lodge area throughout Morgan and Scott counties. Sister Julia immersed herself in community outreach on the Cumberland Plateau, then founded the Plateau Home School, engaging others in tutoring children who needed extra help with basic reading skills. Her mobile library, Thrift Store, and Bread Basket were located at Lancing, as was the Christmas store which sold affordable nonviolent toys. Other Sisters of the Holy Cross volunteered in summers for the Christian Appalachia Project.
A welcome sabbatical in 1998 had helped Sister Julia to shift her life focus “from ministry and prayer to
prayer and ministry.” Sister Julia Marie wrote that she had followed a pattern of responding to needs as they emerged. Julia had seen the Our Lady of the Pines house as “a home that is open and available for folks to use as a place to pray.” Another need was emerging, but the diocese was unable to support a prayer center.
Providentially, the Sisters of the Holy Cross had founded Angela House of Prayer and Retreat Center in Michigan City, Indiana. In August 2006 Sister Julia was appointed co-director and was delighted to provide the hospitality and environment necessary. In July 2014 health issues mounted and Sister Julia Marie transitioned to the motherhouse, assigned fittingly to a ministry of prayer. When Sister Julia Marie died at Saint Mary’s Convent, she transcended all limits and is enjoying the freedom of risen life.
You may wish to donate in Sister’s name to the Ministry with the Poor Fund at www.cscsisters.org.
Kaniewski Funeral Home is handling arrangements for services at the Church of Our Lady of Loretto on Thursday, August 1, 2019 at 9:15 a.m. with Visitation and 10:15 a.m. Prayers, Memento, and Mass of the Resurrection.