Sister Jocile Moes
Always Positive and Cheerful
The congregation spoke for Sister Mary Jocile Moes when they sang the entrance song for her funeral liturgy: “I know that my redeemer lives, the One who calls me home. I long to see God face-to-face, to see with my own eyes.”
Sister Mary Jocile waited 100 years until April 7, 2013, to realize her dream. Born on the feast of St. Joseph, March 19, 1913, in Dubuque, Iowa, Lucille Josephine Moes entered the Sisters of the Presentation in October 1932. She graduated from Loras College with a degree in English and took graduate classes in art at Viterbo College in La Crosse, Wisconsin. For nearly 50 years she taught students in grades 4-8 in 10 different Iowa parish schools.
Sister Jocile retired at Mount Loretto in 1985 where she pursued hobbies of singing, art, reading, crafts, walking and community service. The response to the reading for Sister Jocile’s funeral was taken from Psalm 116: “In the land of the living I will walk with God all my days.” She did just that, as a Presentation Sister for 80 years. The reality of these words bore evidence in her warm and loving interaction with others, particularly during her retirement years.
With a 1932 entrance date, Sister Jocile was a Dubuque Presentation at the time when every living-member of the community entered; no one remembers a time when she wasn’t here. She served as a kind of “icon of presence” for all.
For many years Sister Jocile might have been described as a quiet, reflective, serious, proper, reserved person – a competent elementary teacher with a picture-perfect classroom, artistically appointed, attractive, absolutely everything in its place.
At 90 years of age, following a short sick spell, she became the new Sister Jocile, a totally different person. With an unexpected personality change, she became a “free” woman: outgoing, friendly, talkative, enthusiastic, uninhibited, and self- expressive. All who visited her were told over and over of her love for them.
Frequently, while she waited for supper in the kitchenette, sisters and nurses aides gathered around her as she spontaneously delighted all with her conversation and her expressions of love. She held on to hands and kissed them. She saw beauty and love everywhere, in everyone. The long years of life had dimmed her vision; her glasses had become ineffective, but she looked with the eyes of her heart, the eyes of God, and she saw each person as beautiful and lovable, bearing out the message, “she had walked with God all her days.” Daily she influenced lives with her goodness and her love.
What hadn’t dimmed was the unusual sparkle of her bright blue eyes and her radiant smile. At the “Sharing of Memories” during the wake service Sister Irma Ries called attention to the special quality of Sister Jocile’s smile. “Have you noticed her smile? I’ve been drawn to the loveliness of Sister Jocile’s smile. It has changed over the years. Her smile reflects something very special, a touch of the divine.”
Sister Jocile’s positive approach and cheerful manner were convincing as she nearly always insisted that she felt fine, with ‘nary an ache or a pain.’ No wonder she was a Hospice dropout. And, of course, she gave God the credit, often saying, “I just love Him; don’t you?” In the homily at her funeral Mass, Father Doug Wathier connected the reflections on Sister Jocile’s life and her ever-deepening experience of God to the Easter story of the Emmaus journey where the disciples walked with Jesus and experienced his presence in the breaking of the bread. Now with “hearts burning within,” may the memory of Sister Jocile live on in the hearts of her community, family and friends.
If you would like to make a memorial gift in memory of Sister Jocile, click here.