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.
For more information, directions or to arrange accommodations please send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 208-962-3224. All are welcome.
For photos and the complete stories on the Sisters’ Jubilees please visit www.StGertrudes.org/jubilees.htm.
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.
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.
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.”
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.