Sister Josie Sanchez died peacefully on October 28, 2020. There is so much to share about Sister Josie: her joy for life, her lifelong love for music, her playfulness, her creativity expressed in fun skits which she composed and directed, her life as a teacher and her life ministering to people in poverty. Sister Josie lived her life to the fullest.
Born on March 1, 1935 in Monte Vista, Colorado to Jose Pulidor Sanchez and Senida Sandoval Sanchez, Sister Josie was baptized Maria Richardita Fedelina. 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.” Josie’s call from God to become a sister was influenced by one of her teachers. In high school, Josie came to know the Benedictine sisters of Mt. St. Scholastica and entered in 1953 making her final monastic profession in 1958.
Sister Josie earned her BA in Elementary Education from Regis College, Denver, she completed a MA in Learning Disabilities from the University of Northern Colorado, Greeley. She taught as a special needs teacher for eight years in Walsenburg, Colorado. She also taught kindergarten through middle school and served as a school principal for over forty years throughout Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska and Colorado.
The center of Sister Josie’s life was her love for God and her commitment to the Benedictine way of life. She was one of the charter members of Benet Hill Monastery, served as assistant prioress from 1991-1995 and then moved to Alamosa, Colorado to serve as Coordinator for Christian Community Services.
This ministry involved bringing church service groups from all over the country to do repairs and painting on the homes of the poor. She recalled a Buddhist saying, “A generous heart, gentle speech and a life of service and compassion renews humanity.”
In her later years, Sister Josie was the director of Benet Pines Retreat Center and then taught in Grand Junction as a religion teacher for migrant families.
Music was a gift and passion of Sister Josie. She cantored at Liturgy of the Hours, Sunday Eucharistic celebrations, sang in choirs and other community celebrations. One of her favorite songs was Eres Tu, which she sang at a community celebration only a few months ago.
Sister Josie was a woman steeped in life and love. Her deep love for God carried her through life’s difficulties and filled her with joyful song. Sharing her joy through music was her gift to all who knew her. If there are any words that can capture Sister Josie’s life, they would be, “Still singing a joyful song, now in the choirs of heaven.” She will be greatly missed by her community and her family that she loved deeply.