Sister Johnel Kunkel, PHJC, passed away on May 19, 2013 at the Catherine Kasper Home, Donaldson, Indiana. She was born to John and Elizabeth (Rolfers) Kunkel in Carlyle, Illinois on April 26, 1916. She entered the Poor Handmaid of Jesus Christ community and professed her first vows on June 25, 1945.
Sister Johnel began her ministry in education in 1945, teaching at various schools in Quincy, Chicago and Breese, Illinois and Gary and Donaldson, Indiana. In 1988 she began her 15-year ministry at Ancilla College as Dean of the College transitioning in 1995 to become Special Assistant to the President until 2003. She states, “As a Poor Handmaid of Jesus Christ I had the opportunity, the privilege and the pleasure to help many students and their families to grow closer to God in their daily lives and also to become better educated. Helping others has indeed been a blessing for me.” She retired to the Catherine Kasper Home in 2008 at the age of 92.
Sister Johnel celebrated her 60th Jubilee in 2005. In her Jubilee reflection she states, “My hopes and dreams and my prayers will continue, as in the past, for my own future and that of the Poor Handmaid congregation. I place all in the hands of God and Blessed Mary Catherine Kasper. Our dreams have materialized in the beatification of our foundress. I hope the future will bring her canonization since the community she founded is now an international community.”
May Sister Johnel rest in peace!
Memorial contributions may be made to the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, PO Box 1, Donaldson, IN 46513.