Remembrance of the Life of Jane Elizabeth Kosters CoL
(Editor’s note: Loretto Co-member Jane Elizabeth Kosters died Aug. 10, 2022, in Denver. She would have turned 80 years old Aug. 17.)
Jane Kosters began telling us about herself in her 1975 application for Loretto comembership: “I am second oldest of nine children from Rock Valley, Iowa. I have an older brother, five younger sisters, and a final two youngest brothers.
“My father, Hein Kosters, a very conservative Catholic convert, was born in Sioux City, Iowa, and worked as a meat retailer. My mother, Irene Winifred Doherty, was born into an Irish Catholic family in Humphrey, Neb., and kept house for all of us. In Rock Valley I attended public grade school and Assumption Academy in nearby Norfolk, Iowa. After graduating, I joined the Missionary Benedictines who had taught me at Assumption and shared five years of my life with them as a vowed member until 1965. Then I moved to Denver.
“I’ve been employed at United Airlines in passenger service since 1966. I am a ‘Christian/Liberal Catholic.’ … Soon after I came to Denver, I was introduced to the Sisters of Loretto through Gabriel Mason SL. I presently  live with Evelyn Houlihan, SL. … and am finishing my BA at Colorado University in Denver in psychology.”
Jane went on to complete a master’s in gerontology at the University of Northern Colorado in 1982. She continued at United Airlines until a “favorable buyout was offered to senior employees.” This gave Jane a chance to consider what was next for herself.
Jane wrote to the Loretto Membership Team in 1983 expressing interest in changing her status “to delete the ‘co’ from my membership and become just a regular.”
In recommending Jane, Cathy Mueller wrote to President Marian McAvoy in early 1985: “Jane is very much a member of the Loretto Community. For many years she has struggled with whether vowed or co-membership was where she could best live out her life. This last, year she has been in the Initiation Period [for vowed membership] … and she is ready to begin the novitiate. I ask the Executive Committee to designate the community of Jane and Evelyn Houlihan as a ‘novitiate house’ … a home base from which Jane will move out into other communities in other cities during the year. … Although a community of only two, Jane and Evelyn have developed a larger network of significant people through the neighborhood, work, long-term friends, family and the Loretto Community. Individually and together, they have relatively frequent contact with Loretto Community members — attending workshops, Loretto gatherings, smaller, more consistent groups and closer friends with whom they spend time. Laughter is common in their home. They enjoy life and challenge one another.”
Jane’s second venture into vowed life concluded like her first, with the Benedictines. She enthusiastically returned to her commitment as a Loretto co-member and continued in that relationship for the rest of her life, saying, “… I want to get old with Loretto, to pick more daisies in my life surrounded with people I care about and care about me. It’s impossible to list all the reasons I continue in Loretto. So, I’ll paraphrase Maggie Kuhn: Loretto manages to encourage me to do something outrageous every day, and then Loretto stands next to me in constant support! … I want to dream, hope and remember with Loretto. … [and have] a Loretto group sing at my funeral.”
Mary Catherine Rabbitt remembers, “Jane received an MA in gerontology at the University of Northern Colorado at Greeley; Margaret Quayhagen was one of her teachers. She worked at a senior assisted-living facility, Eaton Terrace, before joining my staff in 2001 as Health Care Coordinator. Jane accompanied Loretto members when they moved from the Denver Center to the Motherhouse or El Paso. She was a wonderful, loving person who always gave it her all. Jane was a lifelong learner and took many classes at the University of Denver‘s adult learning programs. She also studied the art of clowning and became a clown in order to entertain seniors and children.”
Jane survived bouts of cancer, cared for her own health carefully, spent her energies in caring for others, participated in Loretto Community life, was renowned for her golf game and her travels. She was never far from her friend and mentor, Evelyn Houlihan, even when they were separated by many miles. Jane had visited Evelyn at the Motherhouse Infirmary within a week of Evelyn’s death in July, just a month before she herself died unexpectedly. Jane’s cremains will be buried at the Motherhouse beside Evelyn.
Please keep Jane, her family and all who loved her in your prayers. May she rest in peace.