In memorium: Bessie Wilburn

JACKSON – Bessie Wilburn was a native of Greenwood, Mississippi, graduating from Broad Street High School. She began coming to the St. Francis Center, meeting members of the Pax Christi Franciscans and the Franciscan Friars. She came to know and respect the work done by this Catholic community under the direction of Father Nathaniel Machesky, OFM and Kate Jordan.
She attended Xavier University in New Orleans, transferred to and graduated from Briar Cliff College in Sioux City, Iowa. She obtained her master’s degree from Delta State College in Cleveland. While a member of the Delta State concert choir, she traveled to England where the choir performed numerous concerts.
In 1957, inspired by the Pax Christi Franciscan community, Wilburn began her process of formation as a member of this group of dedicated women, known in Canon Law as a Pious Union. People who belong to such groups commit themselves to following Christ in a radical way, by living a life of poverty, chastity and obedience. In 1960, Bessie made her first profession as a member of the Pax Christi Franciscans making her a consecrated member of this group.
She spent her years at St. Francis Center serving the people in that area. For many years, she taught at St. Francis school, also teaching music and directing musical plays for the entire school.
Wilburn was the director of St. Francis Center for many years. Her favorite task at the center was offering parties and programs for the senior citizens of Greenwood.
She was a true Franciscan, loving and caring for many stray animals who found their way to her.
Wilburn left this earth and joined the choir of angels on Aug. 4, 2020.
A private Mass was celebrated on Saturday, Aug. 8 at St. Francis of Assisi parish in Greenwood.
Memorial donations may be sent to the Pax Christi Franciscans, 2108 Alta Woods Blvd., Jackson, MS 39204.