January 2010: SISTER RACHEL JOST (entered eternal life on October 4, 2022)
“I was born on April 25, 1927, to Daniel and Olivia (Scheller) Jost in Haubstadt, Indiana, a small town about 12 miles north of Evansville. The population at that time was 600, and we did not have a police department but had a marshal for the occasional mishap,” chuckled Sister Rachel Jost.
A graduate of St. Peter and Paul Catholic grade school, she was taught by the Benedictine Sisters from Ferdinand, IN. In her leisure, she played house during the day with her best friend, Alice, and then cops and robbers with the neighborhood gang in Holzmier’s barn in the evening. She was the oldest sibling, and by the time she was seven, she already had three brothers. A sister and two more brothers came later.
“I had a very good friend and neighbor, Eleanore, whom I spent many hours with talking while sitting with her on her porch swing. She was ill with rheumatic heart and died when she was only 20 years old. She got me interested in reading her Catholic magazines, the St. Anthony’s Messenger and the Sacred Heart Messenger,” Sister Rachel said. “When I was around 15 years old, I began to love the quiet of the early morning and was drawn to attending Mass. I really longed to always receive our dear Lord in Holy Communion,” she added.
Watching her parish Sisters with great admiration, she realized that they had nothing but the habits they wore, lived in the empty rooms in school, and yet seemed content. “I interacted with the Sisters on occasion as my mother had me deliver vegetables and fruit from our large garden. I was humbled by their kindness,” she said.
The train ride
As graduation approached from Haubstadt Public High School, Sister Rachel had a longing to be a Sister nurse. “I had become familiar with the story of St. Francis of Assisi and also, on some occasion, read about the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis in Springfield, IL, but I needed help in understanding this as my future,” she said. She met with her pastor and discussed the Hospital Sisters. He wrote to Mother Magdalene, Superior of the Hospital Sisters, who responded with an invitation for her to visit St. Francis Convent. “While on the train, I somehow missed my connection for Springfield, and about an hour later, I realized I should ask someone for an update on the travel time. That’s when I realized the train was pulling into St. Louis instead! Fortunately, I got on another train heading north to Springfield – although a bit late,” she laughed. “When I arrived at the Motherhouse, I just loved it: the beautiful Adoration Chapel, the many postulants and white-veiled novices, and the beautiful grounds,” Sister Rachel said.
She discussed with her parents the experience in Springfield and her desire to enter religious life. “I never heard God’s call or anything like that; I just knew that this was where I belonged,” she said. “My mother wasn’t pleased with the idea of me leaving home, but my father supported me,” she added.
Another train ride
On September 8, 1946, at 2 a.m., her brother and three of his friends took Sister Rachel in their pastor’s car to the train station in Vincennes, IN. “We weren’t confident that Dad’s Model A Ford would make it from Haubstadt, so we borrowed the car,” she said. “I also was careful this time to pay attention to the announcements so that I didn’t miss Springfield,” she said. When she arrived, the Sisters were there to meet her and brought her to the Motherhouse. After three months, her parents came for a visit and were content with their daughter’s decision.
Life of service
Sister Rachel is a graduate of St. John’s School of X-Ray Technology and Medical Technology, Springfield. She has served at Sister-sponsored hospitals in Effingham, Belleville, Springfield, Sheboygan, and Green Bay. Presently, her ministry at the Motherhouse is of prayer, adoration, and volunteer service.
Place your hand in our dear Lord’s hand and follow Him with trust, love, and faith. Believe with all your heart that He loves you,she concluded.