Kim Marie Jordan to make Monastic Profession
On Saturday, March 10, Sister Kim Marie Jordan will make her Perpetual Monastic Profession at the Monastery of St. Gertrude. The ceremony celebrates an eight-and-a-half year formal journey into monastic life that has included triumphs such as contributing to the Monastery’s capital campaign and returning to college to study social work. It has also included the challenges of leaving her friends and family in Houston and eventually, engaging in a battle with cancer.
For Kim Marie, however, it all began over 15 years ago when she visited the Monastery for a two-week monastic living experience in the summer of 1997. Her son and daughter were grown and she had made several retreats at the Monastery of Christ in the Desert in New Mexico. She was inspired to not only reclaim her Catholic faith but to explore the idea of religious life.
“I was taught by Benedictine sisters from Atchison, Kansas and always felt I had a Benedictine heart,” she says. “I found several Benedictine monasteries on the internet and learned about St. Gertrude’s. All of a sudden I was on a plane to Idaho.” During her two-week stay, Sister Kim Marie participated in daily life with the sisters in prayer, work, study and leisure. “In that time I could hear God say, ‘This is it. This is where I have brought you.’”
Kim Marie returned to her home in Houston to reckon with a growing sense of her calling to monastic life that was not only present in her waking hours but in her dreams. “I didn’t talk about it much until I met Father John,” she says. “He was my pastor at St. Anne’s Church and he really helped me figure it out.”
Father John Robbins, CSB accompanied Kim Marie on a trip to St. Gertrude’s in June, 2003 and encouraged her to take the next step. “He said he could see me here,” she recalls. “He also said that if I didn’t give myself the opportunity, I would spend the rest of my life wondering. The thing is, I knew. I just needed to give myself permission to know.”
By the following October, Kim Marie sold her house, quit her job and gave away most of her belongings. Her friend Father John agreed to accompany her on the drive to Idaho. Her adult daughter and son, Katie and Cary, waved their mother on as she began her journey.
“I learned to let go and let God speak to me. You really have to do that in religious life. A lot of times this call from God is not even in your own understanding. When I made First Profession I realized that actually understanding my call wasn’t necessary. I don’t know why God chose me. What was necessary was being open to the spirit of God that flows within me. It goes back to the Rule of Benedict: to listen.”
During Kim Marie’s early years, she worked in the Monastery’s development office, assisting with the capital campaign and various projects in preparation for the Monastery’s centennial celebration. Then three major events happened: Sister Kim Marie was accepted to the Lewis-Clark State College School of Social Work, her friend Father John died of cancer – and she herself was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“I thought it really wasn’t very fair,” she recalls. “At one point I felt so bad, like God had abandoned me.” With support from her academic advisor, she attended school full-time that summer while undergoing chemotherapy and grieving the loss of her friend.
“I was also so blessed,” she adds. “My son came and took care of me for several weeks. We were able to come to a new level of relationship and he eventually made some important decisions for his life. And one of the greatest blessings was the support and love of my monastic community. Without their support, I don’t know how I would have gotten through that time. It was the most perfect thing. That’s what happens in community: we love and support each other.”
Sister Kim Marie is now cancer free, continuing her path to becoming a social worker and volunteering at St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in the social services department. She was also recently inducted into the Phi Alpha Honor Society for academic achievement in her social work education. <link> “I feel called to hospital social work because you’re helping people who are vulnerable to live with dignity and have good outcomes when they leave the hospital. My experience with cancer showed me what it’s like to suffer, to be vulnerable and need help.”
Sister Kim Marie also finds a connection between social work and the Monastery of St. Gertrude’s vision statement: Prayer Awakens. Justice Impels. Compassion Acts. Thy Kingdom Come. “Our vision statement is really what social work is all about,” explains Sister Kim Marie.
She finds the most relevant aspect of the community’s vision is the commitment to prayer. “Prayer is so much a part of what it means to be Benedictine – gathering together to pray.
As challenging as it was to learn to live in community, I really feel it suits me. When we are professed, we promise obedience. I have found that obedience is about being present to one another. That’s really good for me because I am kind of a control freak and what saves me is to live in community.”
Sister Kim Marie Jordan makes her Perpetual Monastic Profession in the presence of her community on Saturday, March 10 at 7 p.m. in the Monastery chapel. The celebrant will be Father Paul English, CSB, who served as Sister Kim Marie’s spiritual director at St. Anne’s Church in Houston.
“During these years I was asked, ‘Does this way of life give you life?’” recalls Sister Kim Marie. “It is, without a doubt, still giving me life.”
SGA All-School reunion planned
The Monastery of St. Gertrude is proud to announce the Saint Gertrude’s Academy All-School Reunion that will take place August 3 -5, 2012. Invitations are in the mail but we are still looking for the contact info of these graduates below (class year follows the name). If you can help us contact any of these people, or you are not on the list below but attended the Academy and haven’t received an invitation, please let us know at 208-962-5062.
Josephine Okkinga, 31; Bernadine Goeckner, 32; Dorothy Jenny, 33; William White, 33; Marie Baune, 34; Rita Gotzinger, 34; Mary Miller, 34; Anna Miller, 35; Ruth Yates, 35; Sara Pochel, 36; Carolyn Martzen, 37; Nellie Rustemeyer, 37; Leona Schmidt, 37; Mary Voskuhler, 37; James Albers, 38; Fred Orr, 38; Dorothy Albers, 39; Freda Stallinger, 41; Ellen Schmidt, 43; Josephine Uptmor, 43; Patricia Zimmerman, 43; Anthony Schaff, 45; Elaine Joyce, 48; Larry Schnider, 50; Lorraine Sprute, 50; JoAnne McDonald, 53; Patricia Tyler, 58; Barbara Willenborg, 58; Donna Hilbert, 59; Wayne Busch, 60; Ernie Koch, 60; Dolores Nieffenegger, 60; Mary Enge, 61; Gary Felgenhauer, 61; Naomi Gaudy, 61; Bette Johnson, 61; Rosalie Kaschmitter, 61; Sylvia Ross, 61; Evelyn Sprute, 61.
Colette Queener, 62; Pauline Blenkle, 63; Richard Lustig, 63; Kathleen Packer, 63; Ray Zehner, 63; Mary Gene Delaney, 64; Marilyn Hinkle, 64; Fred Schumaker, 64; Jerry Schwartz, 64; Frances Sonnen, 64; Sara Thiel, 64; Sharon Wilder, 64; Donna Zendegui, 64; Kathy Barrett, 65; Sara Harston, 65; Fred Hinkley, 65; Cecilia Kiser, 65; Jamie Ladd, 65; Candy McKierman, 65; Tom Rowe, 65; Suzanne Thomas, 65; Diane George, 66; Stephenie Petterson, 66; Ladd Arnoti, 67; Rita Felgenhauer, 67; Karen Kilwein, 67; Karen Peterman, 67; Beverly Staab, 67.
Gary Watson, 67; Everett Gehring, 68; Randy Harman, 68; Jeanna McLinn, 68; Timothy Moore, 68; David Schumacher, 68; David Seubert, 68; Nancy Staab, 68; Candace Biladeau, 69; Mary Ellen Duman, 69; James Erne, 69; Margaret Gehring, 69; Patricia Kaschmitter, 69; Jody MacDonald, 69; Nancy Martin, 69; Joseph Priest, 69; Kathy Schmidt, 69; Jane Steiger, 69; Wilma Westhoff, 69; Irma Felgenhauer, 70; Ronald Hoene, 70; Alice Kesler, 70; Ronald Kuther, 70; Patricia Mager, 70; Ellen Morris, 70; Chris Neely, 70; Lynette Nuxoll, 70; Jamie Sager, 70; Patricia Seubert, 70; Carol Sonnen, 70; Joyce Uptmor, 70; Lorene Bingham, 71; Tim Duman, 71; Ken Hayes, 71; Henry Meyer, 71.
Joan Rousseau, 71; Keith Schaeffer, 71; Shirley Schumacher, 71; Mark Wimer, 71; Susan Arnzen, 72; Carolyn Auer, 72; Aimee Duclos, 72; Gena Francis, 72; Ed Hattrup, 72; Mary Neely, 72; Dan Nuxoll, 72; Kathy Nuxoll, 72; Allan Rieman, 72; Jody Schacher, 72; Edrea Sommer, 72; Becky Armstrong, 73; Douglas Degrood, 73; Richard Frei, 73; Sally Goeckner, 73; Magdalan Kopczynski, 73; Kristy Nelson, 73; Margie Rae Schumacher, 73; Bernadette Schwartz, 73; Kathryn Tacke, 73
You can find more information about the 2012 SGA All-School Reunion at http://stgertrudes.org/sgaalumni.html.