Sister Julianne Warnshuis, MM

Born: July 1, 1940
Entered: August 23, 1973
Died: October 8, 2006

On October 8, 2006 at approximately 12:30 a.m., Sister Julianne Warnshuis was transformed through death into new life. It was the day chosen to celebrate the Closing of Mother Mary Joseph’s 50th Anniversary of her passing that Julianne joined her in heaven. She was surrounded in Maryknoll Residential Care by her cherished sister who had arrived moments earlier from California, and by loving caregivers, Sisters and other friends. Also present were Zip and Tux, the two cats Julianne had brought to Maryknoll Residential Care. They took turns lying at her feet, loyal and concerned during the hours of vigil. Julianne was 66 years of age and a Maryknoll Sister for 33 years.

Born on July 1, 1940 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Julianne was the second of two daughters of Leland Douglas and Olive Ruth Buck Warnshuis, both of Dutch ancestry. When she was three years old, the family moved to Long Beach, California and remained there. Julie graduated from St. Anthony’s High School in 1958. She attended California State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in History in 1963 and a Master of Arts degree in Special Ed in 1969. Between degrees she served for three years as a rural school teacher and health worker in Brazil as a Peace Corps Volunteer. But Julie knew she wanted something more in her life and, from reading the Maryknoll Magazine, began to consider the Maryknoll Sisters as a life option. She entered the Novitiate in St. Louis, Missouri on August 23, 1973. Two years later she made her First Profession of Vows on June 8, and her Final Profession on April 26, 1984, both ceremonies were held at Maryknoll, NY.

After study at the Maryknoll School of Theology, she was assigned in 1975 to the Panama-Nicaragua-El Salvador Region, then known as Panisa, where she remained six years, working with the multi-handicapped children in Masaya, Nicaragua. During the revolution she organized the setting up of rural clinics to assist the wounded. These were difficult years when she came to know the effects of fear, violence and social upheaval—on herself as well as on her friends and neighbors. After the war was over and the Somoza regime was ousted, Julianne went to the Center for a year, prior to Final Profession and then returned to Nicaragua to continue her ministry with children, along with general pastoral work.

In 1984, Julie returned to Maryknoll to work in the Office of Social Concerns where her knowledge of and experience in Central America made a valuable contribution in the troubled times following the death of the four Churchwomen in El Salvador. She then went back again to Nicaragua in 1987.

Julianne again offered to do Congregational Service, this time in the Information Systems Office for two years. In 1992, she was assigned to the Eastern Region and went to work in the Bronx with the Dominican Sisters of the Sick Poor, helping to staff a nursery for children with physical challenges. Life looked good again; Julie was settled close to friends and had the company of two loving cats!

During these last years she worked on a special project with Sister Camilla Kennedy, who, Julianne wrote, “…has been a mentor to me from the first day I arrived at Maryknoll, to this day.” Their work of organizing all the conferences and writings of Mother Mary Joseph led her to include Mother in her talks and courses on the mystics.

Julie was a gifted woman, talented in art and in many crafts. Her sensitivity enriched us all. Through these years she has had Prayer Ministries for the Maryknoll Lay Missioners, the Maryknoll Affiliates and the Maryknoll Employees.

We extend our deepest sympathy to Julianne’s sister and to her many friends, some of whom are with us today.

We welcome our Maryknoll brother Father Joseph La Mar who will lead us in this Eucharistic celebration of new life.