Sister Jane Albert Mehrens, 84, a Sister of Charity of Leavenworth (SCL), died on Oct. 10, 2020, in Ross Hall at the SCL Motherhouse, Leavenworth, Kansas. Sister celebrated her 60th anniversary as an SCL in 2015. She entered the religious community after high school and served as a talented and versatile long-time teacher before giving her energies to social services. She was known for her generosity, leadership, and commitment to excellence. She was described as a "Jiminy Cricket" who encouraged people toward excellence and service, but also loved fiercely and unconditionally. More than anything, she was a tireless worker and advocate for the poor, the homeless, the oppressed, and the needy. She embodied the SCL characteristic virtues of prayer, service, and charity.
Sharon Mehrens was born on Aug. 10, 1936 in Butte, Montana, the second of four children of Albert J. and Jane (Harry) Mehrens. She had a strong Catholic heritage, and had an Irish lineage on both sides of family, along with German and English. Her father influenced her interest in public service and social concern. She attended Immaculate Conception Grade School and Girls’ Central High School in Butte, Mont., before pursuing an education degree at Saint Mary College, Leavenworth. Sharon entered the SCL Community on Aug. 19, 1955 and professed vows as Sister Jane Albert on Aug. 22, 1957.
Sister Jane Albert taught in elementary and secondary schools for 32 years in Missouri, Colorado, Kansas and Montana, before serving another 25 years in social service. She taught a variety of subjects and coached several team sports, while also encouraging student involvement in community service and social justice. She left education in 1989 to pursue social ministry, which changed her life in many ways. She became the director of Catholic Social Services (later Catholic Community Services), an emergency assistance agency in Leavenworth, Kansas, which she served for 10 years. During these years, she founded several transitional housing sites for the homeless. One of these, Reveille House, received a national award for innovative collaboration with the City of Leavenworth and the Veteran’s Administration. Prior to her resignation, in January 2000, the Kansas Senate paid tribute to her service on behalf of the state’s poor and the homeless.
She left Kansas to care for her ailing mother in Denver, Colorado, for several months. After her mother’s death, in July 2001, she worked as a case manager for Catholic Charities in Denver, Colorado, under a former student she coached in school. In 2002, she returned to Leavenworth to serve as the outreach coordinator for the Alliance Against Family Violence, a shelter for abused women and children. This work, while painful to her moral sensibility, was her most rewarding and fulfilling assignment. In 2003, her fundraising prowess and leadership enabled the Alliance open a needed sexual assault center in 2003. When grant monies dwindled, she continued to serve as a volunteer. She said the Alliance was her "heart and soul," and she gave all she had to combat domestic violence.
In 2015, she retired to help her brother in California, whose wife suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, before finally relocating to Leavenworth for the remainder of her life. Her life was constantly spent in service to others and to family.
Preceding Sister Jane Albert in death were her parents and one older brother, William (Bill) Mehrens. Survivors include her brother, Ron Mehrens, and a sister, Linda Dennehy, and nieces, nephews, and cousins, and the SCL Community.
A vigil will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020 in Ross Chapel, SCL Motherhouse, Leavenworth. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in Ross Chapel at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 30, 2020. Interment will follow in Mount Olivet Cemetery, Motherhouse grounds. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, attendance is restricted to only invited guests. Memorial contributions can be made to the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, 4200 S. 4th Street, Leavenworth, KS 66048. Arrangements made by R.L. Leintz Funeral Home, Leavenworth.