Sister Justina Franxman 1928-2019
|Born April 23, 1923 in Newport, Kentucky
Entered St. Walburg Monastery September 8, 1948
Received Habit June 30, 1949
First Profession August 24, 1950
Died March 4, 2019
Sister Justina Franxman was born on April 23, 1928 and adopted by J. Herman and Elizabeth Gripshover Franxman in October of 1929. Mary Louise gained three brothers upon her adoption. She cherished the years she worked in the family grocery with her parents and brothers.
Mary entered St. Walburg Monastery in 1948. She became a novice in 1949 and received the name Sister Justina. First profession followed in 1950 and perpetual profession in 1953. Sr. Justina celebrated her silver jubilee in 1975, golden in 2000 and diamond in 2010.
Between 1950 and 1963 Sr. Justina taught elementary grades at St. John’s Orphanage and at Villa Madonna Academy, and served as principal. By 1962 she completed work for her BA in Elementary Education at Villa Madonna College. In the next year her teaching took a different course when she was appointed Novice Director. For the next fifteen years Sr. Justina taught and mentored the newest members of the community, postulants, novices and scholastics, as part of the Formation Team. During this time she finished her work for an MA in Theology from St. John’s in Collegeville, MN. She continued to teach at VMA and served as subprioress before her election as prioress of St. Walburg Monastery in 1978.
Sr. Justina brought her own unique gifts to the office of prioress. She knew how to lead, to laugh, to worry, and to welcome. After two terms she went to Oregon to study spiritual direction and served in that ministry (and in others) at home until her retirement and move to the infirmary in 2014.
One of the joys of Justina’s life was her discovery of her birth family in 2006. She learned that she was the daughter of Margaret Wiesman, and that she had living relatives nearby. This reunion was a source of warmth and wonder for her. The sharing of stories and photos enhanced her experience of family. She was welcomed, and she welcomed in return.
Sr. Justina’ death was unexpected and peaceful in the wee hours of March 4, 2019. She is survived by her sisters-in-law Marilyn Franxman, Patricia Jung, several generations of numerous nieces and nephews, friends and her Benedictine community.,Vigil service was held Sunday evening, March 10, 2019 and Mass of Christian Burial on Monday, March 11, 2019. Interment followed in St. Walburg Cemetery.