• warning: Parameter 2 to ed_classified_link_alter() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/soloneconomist/www/www/includes/common.inc on line 2968.
  • warning: Parameter 2 to ed_classified_link_alter() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/soloneconomist/www/www/includes/common.inc on line 2968.

Sister Jean Thuerauf

Sister Jean Thuerauf, 85, of Minneapolis, died Friday, June 10, 2016, at Catholic Elder Care, Minneapolis. Visitation was Wednesday, June 15, at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Minneapolis. Funeral Mass will be at Our Lady of Grace, Edina, Minn., on Thursday, June 16 at 11 a.m., with visitation one hour prior to mass. Burial will take place on Saturday, June 18, at 11:30 a.m. at Brosh Chapel in Solon. Visitation at 10:30 a.m. prior to burial.
Survivors include her sister, Mary Ann (late Wesley) Hotka of River Falls, Wis.; brothers, David (Ann) Thuerauf, of Mount Vernon; and, Paul (Theresa) Thuerauf, of Wilcox, Ariz. She is also survived by numerous beloved nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents, John and Helen (Hudachek) Thuerauf; brother Bernard (Evelyn) Thuerauf of Joplin, Mo.; and sister, Patricia (Marvin) Spychaj, of Alexandria, Va.
Sister Jean was born Dorothy Jean Thuerauf Sept. 5, 1930, on a farm near Solon. She graduated from Solon High School and entered the convent of the Sisters of Mercy in Cedar Rapids, taking the name Sister Mary John. She graduated from Mount Mercy College, Cedar Rapids, in 1950. She taught elementary school at St. Joseph’s in Marion, St. Matthews in Cedar Rapids, and Sacred Heart in Oelwein, before moving to Minneapolis in the early 1970s.
She worked as a teacher and adult religious educator at Our Lady of Grace Church in Edina. On weekends, she did storytelling and tutoring with children of North Minneapolis. Sister Jean could be seen walking the streets with her stuffed monkey, Jocko. The children knew that if Jocko was around, then story time was soon to follow.
Her work was interrupted in 1973 when a virus infected her brain and left her near death for more than two years; it also left her temporarily blind. After surgery, she eventually recovered. Then, in 1976, she says, that she was “told by the Lord” to go and live in north Minneapolis– but to leave her purse and driver’s license behind.
In 1985, she formally founded the Mercy Missionaries. Sister Jean knew that the streets offered young people a life of crime, violence and gang activity, so she decided to offer the teens of North Minneapolis something different. She saw the need to engage the neighborhood’s young people in educational and empowering activities, so she started inviting the community’s children and teenagers into her kitchen for help with schoolwork, to hear stories of God’s love and to learn to bake cookies. They would then sell those cookies on the sidewalk using a small cookie cart. It didn’t take long for there to be more bakers than there was room in her tiny kitchen! In 1987, Sister Jean’s vision for a safe, secure, creative and engaging space for North Minneapolis’ youth was formalized and became the Cookie Cart. The first Cookie Cart was on Emerson Avenue, the next one is around the corner on Broadway Avenue with a new one which opened in St. Paul this year. Today, the Cookie Cart provides youth employment training through experiential learning. Sister Jean has touched the lives of approximately 10,000 teens through the Cookie Cart.
Sister Jean also authored two books: “Echoes from the City,” published in 1977, and “Deprived of Dignity,” published in 1996.