Sister Janice Friess, ASC (Adorers of the Blood of Christ)
‘My personal joy is bringing Christ to those I serve’
Sister Janice Friess, ASC, is Pastoral Chaplain at Via Christi, St. Francis, Wichita. She is a religious vocation from St. Aloysius, Ransom.
SKR: Why did your enter religious life?
Sister Janice Friess, ASC: I grew up on a farm near Ransom, Kansas. Our town did not have a Catholic school, so each summer our parish would have a two-week vacation/summer school. Three different religious communities came at different times to teach religion to the school children. The orders were: Sisters of St. Joseph, Wichita; Dominican Sisters, Great Bend; and Precious Blood Sisters, Wichita. I was very intrigued by their joyfulness, and by the fact that they seemed to me to know everything. I remember telling my mother that I wanted to be a Sister when I grew up.
SKR: Why did you choose your particular congregation? Sister Janice: The summer when I was ready to start high school, the Precious Blood Sisters had the vacation school. Sister Elizabeth Determan and Sister Dorothy Stremel were our teachers. They encouraged me to come to St. John’s Academy, an all-girls academy in Wichita. In September, I began high school at the academy. Each day at Mass I saw the Sisters, and watched what they did. I increasingly desired to be one of them. Their kindness and their joyfulness was one factor that really drew me to join them. Sister Mary Vincent Werner helped me write a letter to my parents to let them know of my desire. With my parents’ approval, I entered the convent December 8, 1944.
SKR: What have been your greatest challenges as a religious?
Sister Janice: In the religious life, a great challenge for me has been the acceptance in obedience of the ministry assignment given to me by my superiors. In particular, after teaching school for 14 years, I was assigned to go to Carlsbad, New Mexico, to minister in health care there. I loved my interaction with children, and I had hoped that teaching would be my lifetime ministry. However, as I look back on the past 27 years, I realize that this assignment has brought me personal growth and development of gifts in myself to reach out in healing love to those afflicted with various illnesses. This ministry, which I accepted through obedience, has brought much joy to me, and hopefully to those I serve.
SKR: What have been your greatest joys?
Sister Janice: That day I made my first vows as a religious, and my recent celebration of the gift of 60 years as an Adorer of the Blood of Christ, have been great joys to me. In my current ministry, I can truthfully say that the one great joy is bringing Christ to those to whom and with whom I minister. All patients have a deep-seated dignity that demands my loving concern and compassion.
SKR: What kind of ministries have you been/are you involved in?
Sister Janice: My ministries have been varied. For 14 years I taught primary school in Olmitz and Windthorst in the Dodge City Diocese, and Christ the King, St. Mark’s, and St. Mary’s, Aleppo, in the Wichita Diocese. I was then asked to go to Carlsbad, N.M., to work in our hospital there. Four of these years were spent working at Cavern Lodge, a rehab for the dual-addicted. When our hospital there was sold, I returned to Wichita, and have been working at Via Christi Hospital as a chaplain for 26 years.
SKR: Please offer a quote that makes a statement about the value of religious life for you.
Sister Janice: The values I prize in my religious life are living in community with Sisters who share the same charism and support one another in our life and ministry. We have many resources to help us grow spiritually in prayer and theological understanding, and in our closeness to God. Finally, in my current ministry, I reiterate that my personal joy is bringing Christ to those I serve.