81 Years of Sister Jeanine Marie

81 Years of Sister Jeanine Marie

By Molly Kraisinger


Several Seton staff members celebrated their birthday on Thursday Feb 20, one of those being Sister Jeanine Marie Holthaus. Sister Jeanine Marie has been working at Seton High school for over 40 years, and she even spent the morning of her 81 birthday in the Seton library.

Sister Jeanine Marie was born in Richmond IN, the first of four children. She has two brothers, Tom and Ronny, and a sister, Kathleen. Growing up in her neighborhood, there weren’t many girls her age so she would play with 13 boys. Living on a farm she had all sorts of animals. Her family raised Collies and would sell the puppies. They had four females and five males, and one time all of them had puppies at the same time, that’s a lot of puppies. Sister said, “We had so many of them my dad made a puppy house, having four separate rooms for each of the mothers and their pups. It was so cute the puppies would all go visit each other in the different rooms then return to their mom.” One of her favorite things to do growing up on a farm was riding horses. She also trained the horses when they were little.  “I actually preferred riding bareback. I could walk out into the open field, hop on them and they would take me straight to the barn with no steering.”

Soccer, softball, volleyball, basketball, field hockey and track were a few sports she played while attending Riley Elementary School and Richmond High School.  Loving sports and being so active Sister Jeanine Marie decided to go for a physical education degree at Mount St. Joe.   After she graduated from college at Mount St. Joe in 1954, she joined the Sisters of Charity in September. When asked why she joined she said, “Somewhere or other, I knew that’s what God wanted me to do. He made it known to me. I was in retreat. I looked up at the picture of the blessed mother, and I knew then that’s what I was supposed to do.”

Later she got her masters in teaching mathematics at College of Detroit. In 1957 she taught one year at resurrection in 7th grade saying, “They were the greatest kids on earth.”  She then moved to Xenia, Ohio and worked at a small high school, St. Brigid. She taught six subjects there, from 1956-1958, ranging from math and reading to home economics. She said, “The only thing I didn’t teach was Latin and French, I had a busy day.” She also taught music, and even directed the all-school play. After the school closed she was missioned to Shrine High school in Royal Oak, Michigan teaching religion and math for two years. Next she was missioned to Cathedral High School in Denver, CO, from 1960-1969. She taught mostly math for the nine years she was there. Describing Colorado, “It was so beautiful there in the mountains, I was spoiled. I really was spoiled.”

The next step in life was her 13 year career at St. Elizabeth Seton High school in South Holland, IL. It was an all-girls catholic high school, like our high school. Her first year there she taught, then she became the assistant principal for four years, and finally was principal of the school for the last eight years she was there. In 1982, Sister was missioned to Seton High School, and she has been here ever since. She taught math for an impressive 39 years here. When she decided she was going to retire, she didn’t want to retire completely, so she asked if she could work in the library as a volunteer.

She is happy to work in the library because one of her favorite hobbies is reading. She said, “I like to read when I can, my favorite book is Mrs. Mike. I also enjoy the Harvester.” She likes to read all sorts of genres. To celebrate her birthday she came to school like any normal day with Sr. Mary Delores and worked in the library till 9:30. When asked about her birthday plans she said, “I don’t know what we’re going do. I’ll probably go to church like a typical day when we get back to the Mother House.” Hopefully Sister Jeanine Marie was able to enjoy her favorite type of birthday cake, German chocolate.

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