The Mater Dei community is proud to announce the Mater Dei Hall of Honor Class of 2022, who will be inducted on May 6, 2022: Neil Jansen ’87, Deacon Linus Klostermann ’72, Maura Berndsen St. Jacques ’86, and Al Varel.
Established in 1997, the Hall of Honor recognizes alumni and friends of Mater Dei who have lived their lives as witnesses of her mission.
Neil Jansen, Class of 1987
Following his graduation from Mater Dei in 1987, Neil earned a Bachelor of Science in accounting and a Bachelor of Science in international business from Illinois State University, a Master of Professional Accounting from St. Louis University, and a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license.
Since 2008, Neil has served as an assistant professor in St. Louis University’s Department of Accounting. In addition, since 2010, he has served as the director of St. Louis University’s Master of Accounting program. For his dedication to his students, Neil received the following awards: Beta Gamma Sigma Outstanding Teacher Award (2021 and 2018), Beta Alpha Psi Outstanding Faculty Member Award (2018, 2014, 2010), Graduate Business Faculty of the Year Award (2018), Faculty Service Award (2018), and Student Government Association Faculty Excellence Award (2011).
In keeping with our calling to serve, Neil has dedicated his time and talents for the benefit of others. For his parish, Corpus Christi Catholic Church, he currently serves as a finance council member, a trustee, and a chicken dinner committee member; and previously served as parish council president and a building committee member. Additionally, he chairs the Holiday Hilltop 5K, a charity event he initiated with his daughter Emily for the benefit of families with children battling life-threatening illnesses. For St. Clare Catholic School, Neil has coached athletic teams and served as a building committee member. Finally, in conjunction with St. Louis University and the Archdiocese of St. Louis, he helped develop and serves as an instructor for the Pastoral Institute of Learning, a program designed to provide newly ordained priests and deacons with the fundamental business and accounting knowledge needed to operate their parish.
Residents of Shiloh, Neil and his wife, Victoria, are blessed with three children: Emily, Nicholas, and Caroline.
Deacon Linus Klostermann, Class of 1972
Following his graduation from Mater Dei in 1972, Linus earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license. He built a successful career in the accounting field, during which time he also answered his calling to the diaconate. Following his formation at St. Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology, Linus was ordained a permanent deacon in 2008. In 2015, he retired from the accounting field to serve full time as a deacon for St. Dominic Catholic Church. He retired from active ministry in 2020.
As a faithful member of St. Dominic Catholic Church, Linus dedicated his time and talents to the parish council; the school board of St. Dominic Catholic School (now All Saints Academy); and the Men’s Sodality, for which he served as treasurer and secretary. In addition, he served as a board member for the Diocese of Belleville’s Finance Council and Parish and Agency Resource Fund, Guatemala Mission Society, and Missions International; a moderator for Daughters of Isabella Precious Blood Circle 718; and a chaplain at HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital. Finally, Linus is a member of Knights of Columbus Breese Council #2869 and Fourth Degree Bishop Althoff Assembly #193.
Residents of Breese, Linus and his wife, Susan ’74, are blessed with four children, Barb ’86, Tom ’88, Debra ’01, and Philip ’04, and ten grandchildren.
Maura Berndsen St. Jacques, Class of 1986
Following her graduation from Mater Dei in 1986, Maura earned a Bachelor of Arts in deaf education from Fontbonne University, a Master of Arts in education from University of Texas-San Antonio, and a Listening and Spoken Language Specialist Certified Auditory-Verbal Therapist designation from AG Bell Academy for Listening and Spoken Language.
Since 1990, Maura has answered our calling to serve as our brother’s keeper by dedicating her time and talents to serving families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing. In 1996, she began her career at Listen and Talk in Seattle, WA, for which she has served as executive director since 2018.
A nationally recognized advocate for increased access to specialized services for the diverse community of deaf and hard of hearing children and their families, Maura serves as a member of Washington Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Youth’s statewide outreach team and has volunteered in leadership roles for AG Bell Academy for Listening and Spoken Language, OPTION Schools, Inc., Washington State Hands and Voices, and numerous state-level and national-level advisory councils and work groups. Moreover, she has shared her knowledge with others by volunteering for Global Foundation for Children with Hearing Loss, for which she trains professionals in Vietnam; and by providing presentations, contributing to publications, and supporting research related to the development of listening and spoken language in children with hearing loss, as well as best practices for the children and their families.
A resident of Bothell, WA, Maura is an active member of St. Matthew Catholic Church, where she currently serves as a choir member and previously served as a member of the parish’s Pastoral Commission and School Commission.
Maura and her husband, Kevin, are blessed with one daughter, Sophie.
As one who “bleeds blue,” Al has loyally shared his time and talents in support of the Mater Dei community. In addition to serving on the Mater Dei School Board for two terms, he has played a key role in numerous construction-related projects, including serving as construction superintendent for the east building addition in 2004. Moreover, Al has served as an active member of Fathers & Friends, a volunteer for multiple Mothers & Friends dinner auction committees, and a supporter of Mater Dei Knight Club.
A resident of Damiansville, Al is a faithful member of St. Damian Catholic Church, where he currently serves as president of St. Damian Holy Name Sodality and president of St. Damian Cemetery Committee; and previously served as a parish council member, a parish picnic committee chair, and a co-chair for the parish’s sesquicentennial celebration. In the community, he currently serves as a member of Albers Jaycees and Damiansville Development Club, for which he held the offices of president and vice president; and previously served as a committee member for Damiansville’s quasquicentennial celebration. In addition, he volunteers to assist with maintenance and construction-related projects at Damiansville Elementary School.
Al and his wife, Geri ’76, are blessed with two children, Kyle ’00 and Keith ’04, and six grandchildren.