Sister Joseph Marie Jacobsen, baptized Mary Lee, died peacefully in the early morning of January 27, 2020. Sister Joseph Marie or “JM”, as she was known, was a consummate professional with a very quick sense of humor.
Born March 12, 1933 in Chicago, Illinois, 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 and her much beloved 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, Illinois. 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 February 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 from St. Scholastica College in Duluth, Minnesota and served as the Director for Religious Education in Canon City, Aurora and in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The work JM loved most was working for the Marriage Tribunal and as assistant to the Chancellor in the Diocese of Colorado Springs, Colorado where she served for twenty-five years, 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 Diocesan Office, JM began serving as the archivist for Mt. St. Francis from 2008-2010. Then she became the archivist for Benet Hill Monastery from 2011-2015.
Sister Joseph Marie loved her family, her community, the people of New Mexico where her family lived, but most of all, she loved her God whom she served for fifty years of her life.