Three Sisters to celebrate 50th Jubilees
The public is invited to attend the 50th Anniversary of Monastic Profession for Sisters Mary Kay Henry, Mary Geis and Cecile Marie Uhlorn at the Monastery of St. Gertrude in Cottonwood, Idaho. Celebrations will be held Saturday, July 11, 2009 at 1:30 pm in the monastery chapel, with a reception following.First Profession, June 11, 1959. From left: Sisters Mary Kay Henry, Cecile Marie Uhlorn, Mary Geis, M. Lucia Mick and M. Thomas Schmid.
For more information, directions or to arrange accommodations please send e-mail to or call 208-962-3224. All are welcome.
For photos and the complete stories on the Sisters’ Jubilees please visit
In reflecting back on 50 years of service to the local community, to Idaho and to the Church, the Sisters shared the following thoughts for publication.
“Marking my 50th Jubilee within the context of the monastery’s centennial celebration is a privileged moment.” Sister Mary Kay Henry noted, “I have been an active character in more than half of our community’s story in Cottonwood.”  
The community at St. Gertrude’s has challenged her to ministries beyond what she could have imagined. Sr. Mary Kay was a classroom teacher at St. Mary’s, Boise; St. Paul’s, Nampa; St. Nicholas, Rupert; St. Maurus, Ferdinand; St. Anthony, Greencreek; St. Joseph’s and Prairie Middle School, Cottonwood, and Sacred Heart, Boise. She served as a religious education director and pastoral associate at St. Paul’s, Nampa; Our Lady of the Rosary, Boise; Our Lady of Lourdes, Lewiston, and Assumption Parish, Spokane. Other challenges have included ministering as director of formation, director of retreat ministry, prioress and director of development at St. Gertrude’s. Sr. Mary Kay considers both the joys and hardships of these experiences to have been blessings.
The monastery’s centennial vision statement – “Prayer awakens. Justice impels. Compassion acts. Thy Kingdom Come.” – urges her to enter into her next fifty years of service with the same, though wiser and more seasoned, enthusiasm and wholeheartedness with which she first publicly professed her life to God and God’s people on June 11, 1959.
When Sister Mary Geis made her first monastic profession 50 years ago, she was answering a call she heard as a child growing up on the Camas Prairie. From first grade through high school, the community at the Monastery of St. Gertrude was a strong influence in her life, and in fourth grade, she announced that she was going to be a Sister. 
Her subsequent 50 years of ministry as a Benedictine Sister were varied. Initially, Sr. Mary was sent to teach grade school at Sacred Heart in Boise, St. Joseph’s in Cottonwood, Sts. Peter & Paul in Grangeville and St. Anthony’s in Greencreek.
Later, she was called to hospital work in the area of medical records and as a unit secretary. She received her education and training for hospital work at St. Benedict’s Hospital in Odgen, Utah, and Seattle University, then went on to serve at both of St. Gertrude’s hospitals – St. Benedicts Hospital in Jerome and St. Mary’s Hospital in Cottonwood.
Retired from hospital work, she has served at home in the monastery as assistant prioress, procurator, house coordinator and sacristan.
 “There has been an underlying joy in this monastic life,” said Sr. Mary, “serving and living in Idaho, but touching the whole world through prayer and love.”
“I have had a blessed life as a Benedictine Sister,” said Sister Cecile Marie Uhlorn, “and I can’t believe it has been 50 years.”
Much of her monastic life was spent as a teacher in schools throughout Idaho including Cottonwood, Grangeville, Nez Perce, Rupert, Nampa, St. Maries and Lewiston. She also worked in campus ministry and considers those years to have been highlights. Serving at St. Augustine’s in Moscow, Idaho, and at St. Martin’s in Olympia, Wash., she worked with young people who were learning how to make their faith their own. 
Raised in a musical family, she plays the piano, organ and guitar and serves her community as liturgist and organist. She is also involved in hospital ministry at St. Mary’s Hospital in Cottonwood. 
While traveling in Europe, she spent time at St. Andreas Convent in Sarnen, Switzerland, the founding community of the Sisters who established the Monastery of St. Gertrude. She returned to spend six years serving the Swiss community as their organist.  
Sharing the gift of music, whether at home or in Switzerland, is a source of joy and prayerful expression for Sr. Cecile, just as it has been throughout her 50 years as a Benedictine Sister.
Sister Mary Kay Henry serving as principal, Sts. Peter & Paul School, Grangeville, Idaho, late 1960s.
Sr. Mary Kay Henry now.
Sister Mary Geis serving as subprioress of the Monastery of St. Gertrude, late 1970s.
Sr. Mary Geis now.
: Sister Cecile Marie Uhlorn during her early years as a teacher, circa 1970. Sr. Cecile Marie served in schools throughout Idaho including Grangeville, Nezperce, Rupert, Nampa, St. Maries and Lewiston.
Sister Cecile Marie Uhlorn now.

Cottonwood, Idaho 83522


Classified Ads

503 King St.
P.O. Box 157
Cottonwood, ID 83522-0157
Fax 208-962-7131
Template Design by: