The Monastery of St. Gertrude will welcome two women as sisters on August 18, 2007, during the Rite of Temporary Profession. In the ceremony, dating back centuries, Novices Cindy Schultz and Kim Marie Jordan will publicly accept the monastic promises of stability, fidelity to the monastic life and obedience.
Novice Cindy Schultz, 47, is a Cottonwood native and grew up surrounded by the sisters.
"The Benedictines were present at my birth, the sisters taught me in school, and my first job was at the hospital, which the sisters ran," Schultz recalled. "The way I was initially trained to 'care for the sick' by the sisters at the hospital has significantly influenced me in the way I care for people today."
Schultz, a registered nurse, worked at St. Mary's Hospital, Tri-State Hospital in Clarkston, WA, and Syringa General in Grangeville, also volunteered as an EMT for 18 years. During all those years serving the health care needs of her patients, "God worked on my heart."
As a young adult she heard one of the sisters speak about the Benedictine core values of prayer, community and service. "Those values moved me deeply," said Schultz. "Those initial stirrings led me to where I am now, but it has been a long discernment of prayer and reflection."
Several years before she entered the monastery, Schultz began joining the sisters for prayer and mass. When she volunteered to clean the headstones at the sisters' cemetery, however, she experienced a connection to St. Gertrude's.
"I asked for information about each sister in the cemetery, and I read their stories as I cleaned the headstones. We got to know each other as I removed the old paint, and I decided to seriously discern entering the monastery."
Not surprised by her decision, Schultz says the last three years in formation "have been very enriching! It wasn't always easy; at times I questioned myself, asking again and again, 'Are you sure?' But these years have confirmed my desire to seek God and to live the monastic life as a Benedictine."
Novice Kim Marie, 53, is a divorced mother of two from Houston, TX. She found out about St. Gertrude's in Idaho via an internet search in 1997 for a Benedictine monastery.
"I was educated by the Benedictines as a little girl, and had become familiar with the idea of monastic life by visiting a men's monastery in New Mexico," Jordan remembers. "When I found St. Gertrude's on the internet, I was curious and came for a 12-day Monastic Living Experience."
After her second day at the monastery, Jordan knew St. Gertude's was to be her home. She stayed in contact with the sisters for the next six years as she tried to talk herself out of the move.
"Deciding to come to the monastery was like climbing a mountain," Jordan says. "The trip to the top was a struggle. It was hard to leave my friends, my job, my house and car. But once I reached the top and the decision to come here was made, everything became easy."
Once she arrived in Idaho after selling her house and car, quitting her job of 14 years in the publishing business, saying her farewells to friends and family, she sat on her bed in her tiny room and exclaimed, "Oh, Kim, what have you done?!"
"I used to think I chose to come here, to St. Gertrude's. Now I know that God chose this place for me. How else in this wide world would I have ended up here?"
Both women will live at the monastery and enter into the ministries there. Schultz is still discerning her work, but she feels certain her health care experience will be involved. Jordan apprenticed in the Development Office and plans to continue her work there after profession.
The celebration is open to the public and will be held Saturday, August 18, 2007, at 1:30 pm in the Chapel at the Monastery of St. Gertrude.