Johnelle Becker, OSF
December 11, 1932 - January 5, 2004
Sister Johnelle was born December 11, 1932, in St. Michael, Minn. She was the fourth of six children born to the late Thomas and Anastasia (Kolles) Becker. She was accepted as a Franciscan Sister of Little Falls, Minn., on July 31, 1951. She made her first profession of vows on August 12, 1953, and final vows on August 12, 1956. She celebrated 50 years as a Franciscan Sister in 2001.
Johnelle earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in education and history from the College of St. Catherine, St. Paul, Minn., a Master of Science Degree in administration from the University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio, and a Certificate of Liturgy from Gonzaga University, Spokane, Wash. She also studied at Weston School of Theology, Cambridge, Mass.
Johnelle ministered as an elementary teacher and principal, religious education coordinator, music coordinator, liturgist, organist, Administrator of Ministries for the Franciscan Sisters and most recently, Pastoral Minister of Sacred Heart Parish in Sauk Rapids, Minn., where she had also served as principal of Sacred Heart School, 1979-1984. She also ministered in St. Cloud, Osakis, Alexandria, Morris, Anoka and Little Falls.
Johnelle was loved by her family and many friends because of her deep spirituality, genuineness, humor and passionate love for people. She will be remembered for her many talents especially in the realm of music. Her love for singing found her on stage in Alexandria, MN, in "The Sound of Music," "Fiddler on the Roof," "Oklahoma," "Carnival," and "Hello Dolly," as well as in the Ordway's McKnight Theater in St. Paul, 1994. High on her list of musical instruments were organ, piano, guitar and accordion. Since 1990, she assisted with Residents Encounter Christ (REC), giving weekend retreats to persons in prison at St. Cloud Correctional Facility and Jail, Lino Lakes Jail, Douglas County Jail and finally to the Morrison County Jail, Little Falls. Of those experiences she said, "I have met wonderful people searching for a deeper relationship with Christ. The miracles of conversion I have witnessed have been numerous." She helped lead pilgrimages, one to the Holy Land in 1998, in 2000 to Oberammergau and Lourdes, and in 2002 to Mexico. Of them she said, "They were highlights in my spiritual journey."
Tribute prepared by Saint Francis Convent, Little Falls, MN.