Sister Jeanne Wickham, OSF

Nov 25, 2018

Sister Jeanne (Joachim) Wickham, OSF died Sunday, November 25, 2018, at Clare House in Dubuque.

Jeanne Wickham was born at home in Dubuque, IA on September 18, 1927, to Roseline (Delaney) and James Wickham. She was the fourth of five children. Several days after she was born, she was baptized at St. Columbkille’s Parish. Her father worked for the Illinois Central Railroad, and her mother was a school teacher before they were married. Both of them were very proud of their Irish heritage.

The Great Depression hit the family several years later. The city of Waterloo was much more of a railroad city than Dubuque, and her father could get a steady job there, so they moved to Waterloo and attended St. Mary’s Parish. The public school was two blocks away, but the children walked the mile to St. Mary’s School, rain or shine, hot or cold. They even walked home for noon lunch. St. Mary’s had Franciscan Sisters teaching there, and they had many devotions. Every evening during May and October there were devotions to Mary and a holy hour. Every Tuesday there were St. Anthony Devotions as well. Seldom were there devotions that at least one of the Wickhams didn’t attend.

The summer of 1939 held big events. Jeanne was told that if she attended six weeks of summer school at Cedar Falls Iowa Teachers’ College she could go from sixth grade to eighth grade, so she went. That same year, her youngest brother Tom was born, and her sister Rosemary left the family to enter Mount Saint Francis in Dubuque.

Jeanne’s mother was a World War I bride from Louisville, Kentucky. Since her father worked on the railroad, whenever the family got a chance, they acquired passes to go with mother to Kentucky. In 1941 the family moved to Louisville because her mother missed the area so much. This was the first time that Jeanne had attended a public school. The family eventually decided to move back to Dubuque. Jeanne registered at the Immaculate Conception Academy and started the second semester there. During that same time, her brother went off to World War II.

On August 25, 1944, after much soul-searching and near the age of 17, Jeanne entered Mount St. Francis. The following year on August 25, 1945, Jeanne was received into the community and given the name Sister Mary Joachim. Sister taught in Iowa for ten years. Her ministries included Sacred Heart in Templeton, Holy Cross, Sacred Heart in Sioux City/Riverside, Sacred Heart in Monticello, Holy Trinity in Dubuque, and St. Paul in Worthington. After her teaching years, Sister served a term as regional coordinator. She then received training in clinical pastoral education and served for ten years as a chaplain for Mercy and Holy Family Hall Health Centers in Dubuque.

Sister is survived by her sisters, Sister Rosemary Wickham, OSF and Helen McClain; her brother and sister-in-law, Thomas and Brenda Wickham; nieces and nephews, and her Franciscan sisters with whom she shared over 73 years of her life.

Sister was preceded in death by her parents; her brother and sister-in-law, James William Jr. and Genevieve and a brother-in-law, Francis McClain.


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