Mary Jane (Georgene) Cournoyer, OSB

This article was posted on: January 2, 2024

Mary Jane (Georgene) Cournoyer, OSB
Saint Benedict’s Monastery
St. Joseph, Minn.February 22, 1925 – December 25, 2023

The Eucharist of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, January 4, 2024, at the Sacred Heart Chapel, Saint Benedict’s Monastery, St. Joseph, Minn., for Sister Mary Jane (Georgene) Cournoyer, who died on Monday, December 25, 2023, at the St. Cloud Hospital, St. Cloud, Minn. Burial will be in the monastery cemetery. Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Benson Funeral Home. Friends may call at Saint Scholastica Convent on Wednesday, January 3, 2024, for a 3 p.m. Prayer Service followed by visitation until 4:15 p.m. or for a Vigil Prayer Service at 7 p.m. at Saint Benedict’s Monastery. Visitation continues at 9 a.m. until the time of the funeral on January 4.

Georgene Cournoyer was born to William and Mary Virtue Jane (Hebert) Cournoyer at Chippewa Falls, Wis. She was the sixth of seven children (her twin brother, George, being fifth), having four brothers and two sisters. She moved to Eau Claire, Wis., as a sixth grader and attended St. Patrick’s Grade and High School. She entered Saint Benedict’s Monastery on September 10, 1944, and was received into the novitiate on June 21, 1945, as S. Mary Jane. She made her first monastic profession on July 11, 1946, and her perpetual monastic profession on July 11, 1949. In 1948, S. Mary Jane volunteered with other sisters to establish Saint Bede Monastery in Eau Claire, transferring back to Saint Benedict’s Monastery in 2010. She celebrated her Golden Jubilee in 1996, 60th anniversary in 2006, and 75th anniversary in 2021.

S. Mary Jane earned her bachelor’s degree in education at St. Scholastica College, Duluth, Minn., a master’s degree in elementary education from the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, and a master’s degree in religious studies from St. Mary’s College in Winona, Minn. She also attended Bemidji State College, Bemidji, Minn., and the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Ind.

For 45 years, S. Mary Jane served as an educator in Watkins, Minn., St. Thomas More in La Crosse, Wis., St. Patrick’s in Eau Claire, St. Benedict’s Academy in Altoona, Wis., and St. Patrick’s in Onalaska, Wis., as well as principal and superior in Richland Center, Wis. She then changed careers and worked in pastoral ministry at Luther Hospital in Eau Claire, followed by 16 years as chaplain in Oakwood Villa in Altoona. She moved to Saint Scholastica Convent in 2010 and continued to serve in community services and as a companion to the sisters.

S. Mary Jane is survived by her Benedictine community and nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, two sisters, Mildred Gindt and Ruth Fischer, and four brothers, John, Paul, Francis and George.

Please direct memorials to the Sisters of the Order of Saint Benedict Outreach Ministries.

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