S. Jacquelyn Ernster, OSB, 82, died on Saturday, November 20, 2021. A wake service will be held at 7:00 PM, on Tuesday, November 23, 2021 and the Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10:30 AM, on Wednesday, November 24, both in Bishop Marty Memorial Chapel in Yankton, South Dakota. Burial will be in the monastery cemetery. Arrangements are under the direction of the Wintz & Ray Funeral Home in Yankton.
Jacquelyn was born October 3, 1939 to Eleanor Bies in her maternal grandmother’s home in Salem, South Dakota. She was the oldest of five children and spent her childhood in various places near the Salem area. She went to Catholic school throughout her early years. She graduated in 1957 from St. Mary’s High School in Salem while living with her grandparents. During her childhood, her maternal grandmother, and her Aunt Alvina were prominent figures in shaping her life.
Jacquelyn attended Mount Marty to earn a two-year teaching certificate. After her first year, she knew she wanted to be a Benedictine and asked to join Sacred Heart Monastery. She entered in August of 1958 and made first profession on June 29, 1960.
Jacquelyn’s first ten years of ministry as a Benedictine was teaching grade and high school. In 1969, she went to Indiana University for a master’s degree in history, and then taught at Mount Marty beginning in 1970. She earned her doctorate at Ohio State University while teaching at Mount Marty. In 1978, she became the Vice President for Academic Affairs until1983 when she was installed as President of Mount Marty. She served as President until 1996. In 2021, she was given an honorary doctorate and named President Emeritus of Mount Marty University.
Jacquelyn had a sabbatical at Catholic University of Australia in Brisbane before being elected Prioress of Sacred Heart Monastery (1997-2005). After eight years as prioress, she spent time living and working with the Missionary Benedictines in Nairobi, Kenya. This led to her becoming the director of the African Sisters Education Collaborative for about five years. She travelled and recruited staff and students in five African countries.
In 2013, she was asked to be an administrator for the Benedictines of Ridgely, Maryland as they transitioned to a new location. She came home to Yankton in 2017 to retire and aid in the living of daily communal life.
Jacquelyn was a determined person who took on the challenges of life with a positive outlook. She was an avid reader who enjoyed book club discussions and was a world traveler that influenced her love of the culinary arts.
Jacquelyn is survived by her Benedictine community; her sisters, Patricia (Kent) Brandsgaard and Margie Schoeberl; her brother, Richard (Terry) Schoeberl; and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her grandparents; mother; and her sister, Barbara Brajkovich.