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Benedictine Sister Joseph Marie Jacobsen, who worked in Tribunal for 25 years, dies at age 86


02/21/2020 | Comments

COLORADO SPRINGS. Sister Joseph Marie Jacobsen, baptized Mary Lee, died Jan. 27. Sister Joseph Marie, known as “JM,” was a consummate professional with a very quick sense of humor.

Sister Joseph Marie’s vigil will be at March 6 at 7 p.m. at Our Lady of Peace Chapel at Benet Hill Monastery, 3190 Benet Lane, Colorado Springs, 80921. Mass of Christian Burial will be March 7 at 2 p.m. at Benet Hill Monastery.

Born March 12, 1933, in Chicago, JM was the oldest of five siblings born to Christian John Jacobsen Sr. and Margaret Josephine Butler, who preceded her in death along with her brothers, Robert, William, Christian, sister Kathleen Benavides and brother-in-law, Thomas Benavides of New Mexico. She is survived by her brother, Donald Jacobsen.

The early years of JM’s life truly prepared her for her primary ministry. She graduated in 1951 from Mundelein Cathedral High School and then attended Mundelein College in Chicago. Her family moved to New Mexico for her father’s health, where she began her working career as a stenographer. Eventually, JM and her family decided that she would return to Chicago to work as an administrative assistant for Standard Oil.

The call to religious life came when JM was 35 years old and volunteering in religious education ministry at her church. She said in a letter to her family, “I don’t think I was meant to be married. Even though my life has been full, I think there is something more.”

In June of 1968, JM entered Benet Hill Monastery and made her first monastic profession on Feb. 27, 1971. Her professional administrative skills and knowledge of her faith were immediately put to the service teaching religion and typing at Benet Hill Academy.

JM earned a Master of Religious Education degree from St. Scholastica College in Duluth, Minnesota, and served as the Director for Religious Education in Cañon City, Aurora and in Colorado Springs.

The work JM loved most was working for the Tribunal and as Assistant to the Chancellor in the Diocese of Colorado Springs, where she served for 25 years from 1982-2009. She took Tribunal Process Studies through Catholic University. “The most important thing in my ministry is that I have always tried to walk with people where they are in their faith journey and work with them. It is in the work of the Tribunal Office that you find people who are deeply hurt.” Sister Joseph Marie took the words of “Pan De Vida” as a reminder of her call to “be the compassion of Christ.”

After retiring from the Tribunal, JM served as the archivist for Mt. St. Francis from 2008-2010. Then she became the archivist for Benet Hill Monastery from 2011-2015.


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