Sr. Jose Hobday (1929-2009)
Born in Texas, USA, to a Seneca-Iroquois mother and a Southern Baptist father, Sister Jose Hobday was a Seneca elder and a Sister of Franciscan Order. She brought her ministry to truck stops and prisons in the poorest diocese in the United States: Gallup, New Mexico. Lectures and workshops also kept her traveling seventy-five thousand miles a year, cut back from one hundred fifty thousand, as a concession to her age. She called herself a "student of life" and a "missionary-at-large." She wrote a wise little book called Simple Living: The Path to Joy and Freedom.
Tributes from the Community
Thank you for all the beautiful Native American thoughts you shared with me over the years and I was able to share with the students and the blind. You now see with the fullness of life in our good God. Alleluia.
Sister Jo, as we lovingly remember her in Australia, said to me at a youth event in 1985, "stay a lover!" To this day she has been the most inspiring woman I have ever encountered. Her absolute passion for life, radical simplicity, and sense of holy presence in everything inspired us to believe anything is possible with God. I'm truly grateful for having met and known her, and she will always live on in our midst as a constant reminder to live life to the full! Blessed be dear Sister Jo! I will make a bush walk in her honour.
Jose, I think about you often ... each time I sit in prayer calling the circle around me of family and friends whom I've lost ... I think about the mini-vacations you taught me to take for hearty self-care, even if it meant sorting the paper clips in my desk for a few quiet moments. Mostly I think of your "tell it like it is" attitude that is a great corrective for those of us who need "to live out loud." I miss you very much.
—Jeanie Robinson, Bothell, Washington, USA
When I was a graduate student at Cardinal Stritch College (now University) in the 1970s, each summer Sister Jose would come to the college and speak to the students. It was a wonderful experience to listen to her. She spoke about taking mass transit and not using a car, because the poor could not afford a car. I will not forget her words. I have become a mass transit traveler myself.
—Margaret Holden, FSP
I met Sister Jose in the mid-1970s. She was giving a retreat in Houston. My first impression was of a stately, extremely erect woman whose demeanor was forceful, but loving. She wore the same type dress every day which struck a cord with me of simplicity. I went on to use her tapes for a couple of other retreats over the years. I loved her straight forward, earthy, no-nonsense approach to growing closer to God. She contributed much to my own spiritual growth... and I am grateful.
—Angela Murdaugh, FSM
I met Sister Jose at a five-day workshop with the Center for Creation Spirituality the summer of 1991 in San Diego and have carried her spirit in my heart ever since. At that time, she gathered us all to go out to howl at the moon. She told us that it was her prayer for the children. Upon my return home, I encountered a friend of my teenage son. Elliott was quite depressed, so we talked for awhile and then I suggested we howl at the moon. We did and both our spirits were lifted. I still howl at the moon, and now it is not only for the children, it is also for the grandchildren. May you rest in peace, dear Sister, and thank you for the wordless prayer from the heart.
What an outloud, wild, and wonderful woman Sister Jose was—is—truly a sister! Sister Jose knew who she was and was big enough to invite everyone, no matter who, into her circle of love and respect. Her teaching abilities were amazing. Her ability to teach with story, a native gift. Her marvelous sense of the extraordinary ordinary always sprinkled truth, warmth, and understanding all over you. Her deep family connections, particularly with her mother, gave such authenticity to every word and prayer she shared. And what a pray-er! Once on her list, you were set for life. Thanks, God, for Sister Jose, for her awe and wonder of life, for her struggles and true companionship. May we see her spirit dancing in every person we meet.
I met Sister Jose in 1980 and have never forgotten her. She was the freest woman I had ever met. Inspired me to love being a woman helped me transform many destructive messages. Was like a breath of fresh air. Her passionate loving spirit, her vivid life stories so powerful. I've shared them with many. I thank you Sister Jose and honour you and know you will still be assisting many on their journey home.
Howling at the moon with women in jail and prison, living a simple life, giving what one has to any who ask, beating the drum ever so slowly, these are but a few of the lessons I absorbed from the one and only Sister Jose Hobday.
—Jennie K. Curtis
Jose was a beautifully simple and soulful person who loved being human! By her presence she taught me much!
—Sister Donna Marie Beck, CSJ