Sister Isabelle Jacobi, MM

Born: April 22, 1913
Entered: June 4, 1932
Died: November 9, 2007

In the early evening of November 9, 2007 Sister Isabelle Jacobi died peacefully in our Residential Care IV at Maryknoll, N.Y. She was 94 years of age and had been a Maryknoll Sister for 75 years.

Isabelle Jacobi was born April 22, 1913 in Martinsburg, MO, to the late Margaret Costello Jacobi and Frank Peter Jacobi. Isabelle attended St. Joseph’s High School and then St. Elizabeth Academy, St. Louis, MO graduating in 1931. She furthered her education while in Maryknoll by taking a variety of courses at St. Louis-Chaminade College in Honolulu, HI during 1964-1969, and she also took correspondence courses in accounting from LaSalle College, Chicago, IL from 1967- 1968.

Isabelle entered Maryknoll on June 4, 1932, and at reception she received the religious name, Sister Isabelle Marie. She made her First Profession of Vows on January 6, 1935, at Maryknoll, N.Y. and her Final Vows exactly three years later in Seattle, WA.

Sister Isabelle was assigned to Seattle, WA in 1935 where she ministered to the Japanese community, and in 1938 she went to San Juan Bautista, CA to work with the Hispanic community. In both places she taught music, piano and organ. Isabelle was assigned to the Central Pacific Region in 1939 where she continued to teach music for many years.

Her mission in Hawaii was interrupted in 1946 when she was asked to give Congregational Service in the Vocation Department at Maryknoll, which she did for eight years. Isabelle then took the position of secretary to our General Council for ten years. At the end of this time, in 1964, she returned to Hawaii and was the bookkeeper in the Maryknoll Schools. In 1973, she worked as a volunteer staff member of the Pearson Foundation, a problem pregnancy center, ministering to single mothers. In 1978 she served in a federal program for the elderly. She visited those in need in their homes and did small things for them. She often said, “My clients are a blessing to me.” One of our Sisters said of Isabelle at that time, “Her adaptability and engagement in new types of ministry was admirable, she was so caring and compassionate.”

In 1982, Sister returned permanently to Maryknoll, N.Y. where she gave service in various departments: Rogers Library, Development Department, and Center Council secretary. In 1992 Sister Isabelle changed her status in Congregational Service to Volunteer, and worked especially as bookkeeper for the Rogers Coordinators. She would often say, “My skills are limited, but I am happy to do whatever I can.”

In 1999, Sister Isabelle retired and was assigned to the Main House Community, however, her failing health necessitated a move to Residential Care IV in 2002. Her Prayer Ministry during this time, in fact since 1993, was the Congregational Leadership Team.

Isabelle, was a very gentle and loving woman. She would always greet you with a smile, be concerned about your well-being and very interested in your mission. After hearing your story she would say, “It isn’t the place that matters, it is who you are in that place.”

She was very much in touch with nature, which was reflected in her letters and prayers where she commented on creation, the beauty of flowers, the blueness of the sky and the brilliant colors of the rainbows in Hawaii.

Sister Isabelle lived a simple life, true to Gospel Values. She experienced poor health throughout her life and she could seldom follow through on plans. In one of her letters to Mother Coleman she said, “Life is what happens to you while you are making other plans.”

Today we celebrate Sister Isabelle’s fullness of life promised by God. We are grateful for the gift she was to Maryknoll. We extend our gratitude to the Maryknoll Residential Care staff for their loving care of Sister during her illness.

We welcome our Maryknoll brother Father Robert Depinet, who will preside at this Liturgy of Christian Burial.