COLORADO SPRINGS. Benedictine Sister Josie Sanchez died Oct. 28 at age 85 at Benet Hill Monastery. A Memorial Mass will take place at a later date.
Sister Josie was born March 1, 1935, in Monte Vista, the oldest child of Jose and Senida Sanchez. As the oldest, Josie took on many responsibilities caring for her siblings. She would say, “We didn’t have much, but we always had each other.” Sister Josie’s call from God to become a sister was influenced by one of her teachers, who helped her with translating English to Spanish for her parents.
In high school, Josie came to know the Benedictine sisters of Mount St. Scholastica in Atchison, Kansas. One of the sisters asked her if she wanted to join the order. She said, “Yes, but I don’t want to teach.” God had other ideas. She entered Mount St. Scholastica in 1953 and made her final monastic profession in 1958.
Sister Josie taught kindergarten through middle-school children, was a school principal and teacher for disabled students in Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska and Colorado for the next 40 years.
Sister Josie completed a master’s degree in Learning Disabilities from the University of Northern Colorado and taught in the Huerfano School District in Walsenburg as a special needs teacher for eight years.
She became one of the charter members of Benet Hill Monastery in Colorado Springs in 1965. She served the community as assistant prioress from 1991-1995. She then moved to Alamosa for a new ministry, coordinating Christian Community Services.
This new ministry involved bringing church service groups from all over the country to do repairs and painting on the homes of the poor.
In her later years, Sister Josie was the director of Benet Pines Retreat Center in the Black Forest. She also taught religion to migrant families in Grand Junction. She was again translating English to Spanish on behalf of the parents and prepared the children to receive the sacraments. Her life had come full circle.
Music was a passion for Sister Josie; she cantered at the Liturgy of the Hours, Sunday Eucharistic celebrations, sang in choirs, in Benet Hill Academy’s Dad and Daughter shows and other community celebrations.
Sister Josie is preceded in death by her parents, her brother Tommy Sanchez and her sister Ruth Garcia. She is survived by her sister Theresa Sanchez, brothers Richard Sanchez and Ted Sanchez, and by numerous nieces and nephews.