celebrate jubilees at Monastery
The monastic community of the Monastery of St. Gertrude celebrated six jubilarians this summer. Sisters Claudia Rae Braun, Lillian Englert, and Evangela Bossert celebrated 50 years of monastic profession; Sister Agnes Reichlin celebrated 60 years of monastic profession; Sister Bernie Ternes celebrated 70 years of monastic profession; and Sister Theresa Mary Stroeing celebrated 75 years of monastic profession.
It is tradition for jubilarians celebrating 50 years to renew their monastic promises before the monastic community, but these three asked for the whole community to renew their promises together. “We have the same goals and we are in this together,” explains Sister Claudia Rae. “I just think that it’s a milestone,” she adds. “The goal in life should be to do the best you can every day. Live each day as best you can.” Sister Claudia Rae spent a long career in hospital administration and has also served in Monastery leadership and founded the Development Office. She has served on the Monastic Council is now the community’s archivist.
“It is a really wonderful occasion to celebrate,” says Sister Evangela who holds a doctorate in English and spent her career in teaching. She is also the author of “Gertrude of Helfta: Companion for the Millienium” and now devotes much of her time to iconography. “Our community is a stable presence and will remain. We also have a willingness to explore new things, new possibilities. I continue to be inspired by our prayer life.”
Sister Lillian Englert is active on the spirituality ministry team at Spirit Center and is a certified Spiritual Director. After her Monastic Profession in 1963, she taught a wide range of ages and subjects, including religion, but eventually settled in for 18 years as an English teacher at Bishop Kelly High School in Boise. In addition to her B.A. in Education, she earned a Master’s degree in theology and spirituality.
Sister Agnes Reichlin spent a long career in healthcare and was recently recognized as a “Legend of Nursing” by the March of Dimes. She teaches classes on herbs, tonics, and salves for Lewis Clark State College and at Spirit Center. She is Director of Formation and recently led the Benedictine Spirituality Workshop and Retreat for women preparing to make their final profession.
Sister Bernie Ternes began her ministry in education and then “discovered then that the deepest yearning of my heart is to be among God's Anawim — the lost and forgotten ones," she says. And so, at age 52, she began walking the streets at night, checking under bridges and in alleys and sitting on bar stools with those who had no hope. Sister Bernie has also served in Spokane, Washington where she continued doing what she does best: serving the homeless. She volunteered at Our Place Ministries and also at St. Margaret's Shelter for women and children. Now she is home at the Monastery helping with hospitality ministries.
When Sister Theresa Mary Stroeing made her Perpetual Monastic Profession on March 21, 1938 religious life at St. Gertrude’s looked rather different than it does now. “Back then our sisters were either teachers or nurses,” she explains. “Now our sisters serve in a wide variety of ministries. We have more freedom.” Sister Theresa Mary spent her career as a teacher and with 75 years of living her vocation, has some advice for her sisters: “Be faithful to prayer and the Divine Office. And love each other.”