Sister Josita Nahlen, OSB, 99, who entered into eternal life on October 16, 2016, answered God’s call to religious life twice. She first entered St. Scholastica Monastery on August 30, 1934, but during her novitiate was called home to Conway to raise eight younger brothers and sisters after her mother’s death. Several years later, after her father married her Aunt Annie, she heard God’s call again, and felt peaceful and determined to return to St. Scholastica. She made her religious profession on June 24, 1942.
Sister Josita spent 47 years as an elementary school teacher and principal, earning her bachelor’s degree in Education from Quincy College during this time. She taught at St. Anthony’s School in Ratcliff; Sacred Heart School in Charleston; Holy Redeemer School in Clarksville; St. Joseph’s School in Pilot Grove, MO; Sts. Cyril and Methodius School in Slovac; St. Francis de Sales School in Lebanon, MO; and Archbishop O’Brien School in Russellville. She spent 33 years at her last assignment at St. John’s School and Church in Russellville, after her retirement as principal; she continued to work as the Director of Religious Education, then as an Assistant Director of Education for several more years.
During her retirement at the monastery Sister Josita enjoyed managing the monastery periodical room, sewing, and making arts and crafts for the gift shop. As she grew older, she lost her hearing, but kept a white board by her side so she could have conversations with her visitors.
Sister Josita is survived by a brother and sister-in-law, T. J. and Mary Ann Nahlen; and a sister, Anna Marie Gunderman, all from Conway, Arkansas; many nieces and nephews; and her religious community.
Preceding her in death were her parents, Joseph and Christine Nahlen; her stepmother, Anna Nahlen; four brothers, Clarence, Tony, Andrew, and Joseph; and two sisters, Gertrude and Theresa.
Vespers for the Dead was held Thursday, October 20, 2016, at 7:30 p.m. in St. Scholastica Monastery Chapel. The funeral Mass was celebrated October 21, 2016, at 10:00 a.m. with her great-nephew Father Jason Tyler presiding, followed by her burial in the monastery cemetery.