Project Description

Sister Janice Otis, FSE

At home under the big blue sky of southeastern Idaho with its dusty potato fields, pungent sagebrush and extravagant summer sunsets, Sister Janice Otis has been a stable presence in the Idaho Falls-Blackfoot-Pocatello-American Falls community for forty years. It seems everyone in town knows her – and for good reason. While living in Blackfoot at St. Bernard’s Parish, Sister Janice ministered to the Spanish speaking migrant workers, spending hours in their camps assessing needs, teaching and advocating for services.

Then, in 1975 she and Mother Mona Brunner co-founded the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist Family Life Center in Pocatello. Always willing to work for the good of the Community, Sister Janice, the local bookkeeper, took on the position as manager of the Pocatello Mall as a way to bring home a needed salary for the Sisters as they struggled to establish the center. Later, Sister Janice obtained her real estate license and helped many families find proper housing. From 1985 to 2006 she was the Director of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program for Southeastern Idaho Community Action Agency in Pocatello. Sister oversaw the work of over 500 senior volunteers as they assisted non-profit programs and agencies in southeastern Idaho.

Sister Janice was the Administrator of Franciscan Cre-Act School from 2006 until its closing in 2010. She currently is a Volunteer Coordinator for the American cancer Society and the Portneuf regional Medical Hospital Cancer Center. She is also a member of the HOPE Cancer Center support group for survivors, those who presently have cancer and those who have been caregivers.

Sister Janice obtained a Bachelor degree in Music from Viterbo College (now Viterbo University) and during most of her professional life, she has taught piano lessons in her “spare time.”

Well known in the Pocatello area, Sister Janice has been actively involved in numerous organizations, just to name a few:

    • Pocatello Task Force on Aging
    • Founding Board Member of the Idaho Migrant Council
    • Member of the National Advisory Council for Migrant Health and the National Advisory Council on Rural Health
    • Idaho Delegate to the 1995 White House Conference on Aging
    • Board Member of Southeast Idaho In Home Services
    • Pocatello Advisory Council Member and a Member of the Board of Directors of the Foster Grandparent Program of Southeast Idaho
    • Governor appointed Member of the Serve Idaho State Commission on Volunteerism
    • Peer Review Committee for the Ameri-Corps grantees in the State of Idaho

Through her many contacts and activities, Sister Janice has extended the mission of the Family Life Center to a broad range of people through her forty-plus years in southeast Idaho, and it seems she will continue doing just that for a long time to come!