Sister Jolyce: "... my life, my decision."

By Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA on Thursday, August 22nd 2019


“Let the joy of religious life gradually unfold!”


Sister Jolyce Greteman

“... it was my life and my decision,” was the ultimate advice Sister Jolyce Greteman received from her mother early on in her formation more than six decades ago. Now celebrating her 60th jubilee as a Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration, Sister Jolyce shares more about how the support of her family led to a life of furthering the work of the Gospel and the Catholic church.  

Show me a sign:
How did you know that you wanted to be a sister?  

Sister Jolyce:
My education was in a parish school and I also attended a Catholic high school. I enjoyed helping the sisters, especially in grade school. From early childhood, I wanted to be like the sisters who taught me.  

Show me a sign:
How did your family and friends react when you first told them of your desire to become a religious sister?

Sister Jolyce:
Everyone supported me, especially my parents. Religious vocations were common, especially in my dad’s family. Four men became priests and another a bishop. And one woman became an FSPA before me too: Sister Ann Greteman, a musician.  


Sister Jolyce is a member of the FSPA class of 1959.

Show me a sign:
As you reflect on your jubilee, what facets of serving as an FSPA come to mind?

Sister Jolyce:
I think back to my parents visiting me at the convent for the first time. Formation, 60 years ago, was different than it is today: it was common to see your parents only occasionally. My dad died after that visit. It was the last time that I saw him alive. 

I went home for his funeral. My family owned a neighborhood grocery store, and I asked Mom if I should leave the convent and come home to run it. She responded that it was my life and my decision. I decided to go back to La Crosse, and someone bought the store. My mother was so heroic. She was 56 at the time and lived to be 81! 

Show me a sign:
What has been your favorite ministry, and why?

Sister Jolyce:
As an FSPA archivist, I enjoyed learning about the community’s history and sharing our stories. I also enjoyed 29 years of teaching middle and upper grades. Storytelling, as both a teacher and as an archivist, energized me.  

Show me a sign:
Do you have any advice to share with women discerning religious life today?

Sister Jolyce:
Just let the joy of religious life gradually unfold!

The celebration of our 2019 jubilarians continues as they share reflections of gratitude for religious life. Read them here!

Are you discerning religious life? Walking with someone who is? We invite you to share this link,, and join the conversation. 

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