Corinne Forsman to celebrate 50th jubilee
"It's unbelievable," exclaimed Sr. Corinne Forsman, "I can hardly believe I've been a nun for 50 years!"
Sr. Corinne celebrates her 50th Jubilee on Saturday, June 23, at 1:30 pm in the chapel at the Monastery of St. Gertrude in Cottonwood, ID. Born Mary Kay Forsman in 1938 to Frank and Gertrude Sprute Forsman, Sr. Corinne entered the monastery in 1955. She made her first profession at the age of 19 in 1957.
What inspired her vocation? A movie about missionary work in China.
"In the 6th grade I had a heroic vision of myself saving the world after seeing that movie," Sr. Corinne recalls with a smile. "I thought I could write a movie that would convert the whole world."
She confided in her sister Jeanne that she was interested in being a nun, and Jeanne spilled the beans to their parents.
"They thought I was too young, but they didn't interfere with my decision," Sr. Corinne said. Before Sr. Corinne entered the monastery, the Forsman siblings - Darrell of Grangeville, Karen Uhlorn of Ferdinand and Jeanne Holthaus, now deceased - planned a 20th anniversary celebration for their parents.
"We all knew that once I entered the monastery I wouldn't be able to come home for the 25th anniversary celebration."
After graduation from St. Gertrude's Academy, Sr. Corinne began a 12 year teaching career.
"I was so young then," she recalled with amazement. "I remember one of my students telling me, 'You look as young as my mother - 36!' I was just 19!"
The early years in the monastery were very strict and Sr. Corinne remembers being fearful of "so many things, especially of breaking the rules. In a way, this fear drew me closer to Christ."
The 1970s were turbulent times in the Catholic Church and the sisters at St. Gertrude found themselves facing challenges raised by the decisions of the Vatican II Council. One particular aspect of Vatican II called religious orders to "revive their ancient traditions of service and so adapt them to the needs of today."
"Before Vatican II there was an emphasis on denial of the self, especially our emotional self," Sr. Corinne explained. "After Vatican II we realized we needed to be whole, healthy women, individually responsible for our spiritual growth if we wanted to be effective in our ministries."
During those turbulent years, Sr. Corinne experienced many of her close friends leaving religious life for a multitude of reasons. She worked hard at allowing herself the freedom to leave if need be and in so doing, found "the freedom to stay, the desire to re-choose this monastic life at every chance."
"It also helped that I was working at the Catholic Education Office in Boise during that time," she explained. She came in contact with many people throughout the state, all struggling to understand the changes in the church. It was especially rewarding for her to share in the spiritual growth of both young and old.
In the years that followed, Sr. Corinne served as sub-Prioress at the monastery, worked in parish ministry and was called to the position of Vocation Director for the community. Most recently she ministered at Holy Family Parish in Clarkston, WA, and is currently Mission Director at St. Mary's and Clearwater Valley hospitals in Cottonwood and Orofino, ID.
"Monastic life is a real life. Living with other people is very real. It is challenging, but rewarding.
"I love my monastic community and am very proud of them. We are a stable group with a rich and valuable tradition and history. Because of that strong foundation we are also a community that is moving forward, building our future."
And what is in Sr. Corinne's future? She does not know what her work will be over the years, but one thing is certain: "I want to keep working at knowing that God loves me."
Sr. Corinne's 50th Jubilee is open to the public and everyone is invited to come help celebrate this joyous event.