reunion brings alums from near and far
The upcoming St. Gertrude’s Academy All-School Reunion on August 3, 4, and 5 has over 200 participants so far with alums coming from across the Prairie and far beyond.
The three-day event begins on Friday with a special Mass of Thanksgiving at the Monastery at 5 p.m. followed by a barbecue. Father Lyle Konen, C.Ss.R. will preside at the liturgy and Father Gerry Funke, also an alum, will be the homilist. Marcie Beckman (Class of 1967) will lead the music. Saturday features individual class activities culminating in a dinner dance that night at Greencreek Hall featuring music by the band, Rimshot. Sunday is the annual Raspberry Festival at the Monastery of St. Gertrude.
“SGA had a lot to do with my path,” says Marcie. “The Sisters taught me about involvement and making things happen; I learned I was a part of something much greater. SGA is where I began to love education and learned I wanted to stay involved with it.”
After graduating from Gonzaga with a degree in Music Education, Marcie became a music teacher for the Central Valley School District in Boise and then taught privately while she raised her children. Later she became principal of Saints Peter and Paul School in Grangeville, also serving as the school’s music teacher and director of the parish choir. After 12 years, she served in the same capacities at St. Mary’s in Boise for the next 12 years. Now she works at the State Department of Education, managing federal programs for the State of Idaho.
“I admired my teachers; they were intelligent, educated women,” Marcie recalls. “I never thought women were marginalized in the church. It was a great opportunity to see my church in a good way.”
Father Lyle Konen (Class of 1949) grew up on the other side of the hill from the Monastery and boarded at the now-closed St. Michael’s Monastery. “The Sisters gave us a good solid foundation for our faith,” he says. “I was able to develop lasting friendships as well as receive a basis for religious life.”
Just last year, Father Lyle celebrated his 50th Jubilee of ordination. At 81 years old, he is active at St. Peter’s and Sacred Heart parishes in Seattle. He is also involved with prison ministry, visits elders in care facilities, and ministers to youth in juvenile detention centers. He looks forward to his return to Cottonwood and the opportunity to preside at the Mass of Thanksgiving. “It is a great honor, an opportunity for real gratitude, coming back home and celebrating with many others who went to school there.”
Father Gerry Funke, who attended SGA his freshman and sophomore year before the school closed, will give the homily. “This is an opportunity to honor the Sisters and thank them who gave so much,” he says. “Their example of living the Gospel and being committed followers of Christ has been a great gift.”
From Ferdinand to St. Gertrude’s Academy to Mt. Angel Seminary, Father Funke’s education has been largely Benedictine. “Sixteen of my 22 years of education were at Benedictine institutions,” he says. “Benedictines study the mystery of God being revealed.”
When asked about the influence of the Benedictine philosophy on their careers, all three alums where quick to exclaim the Benedictine motto, “Ora et labora!” “‘Prayer and Work’ is a good motto for ministry in general,” says Father Lyle, a member of the Redemptorist congregation. “It helped me appreciate Redemptorist spirituality, which holds that we are redeemed through prayer and work.”
“The Sisters taught me to remember to pray,” says Marcie. “Even on our papers, before we would begin, we would write, ‘That in all things God may be glorified,’ and it set things on the right course. That’s the way to begin everything.”
If you haven’t yet registered for the SGA All-School Reunion, call Carolyn Radakovich at 208-962-5063 or sign up online at www.StGertrudes.org.