Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Cottonwood Benedictine Sisters celebrate combined 400 years of service to Church

the Inland Register

(From the Dec. 3, 2009 edition of the Inland Register)

From left: Sisters Theresa Dvorak, Louise Olberding, Bernard Lieser, Wilma Schlangen, Catherine Manderfeld and Josie Vincke sing the Suscipe during the celebration of their Jubilee Mass at Monastery of St. Gertrude, Cottonwood, Idaho, on Nov. 16. The Sisters represent 400 years of service to the Church and their Religious community. (IR photo courtesy of the Monastery of St. Gertrude)

Six Sisters from the Monastery of St. Gertrude in Cottonwood, Idaho, celebrated a combined 400 years of Religious profession on Nov. 16.

A celebration of these Sisters’ years of service to St. Gertrude and the Church was held during Mass in the monastery chapel. Each Sister renewed her monastic profession and together with the community sang the Suscipe, the ancient monastic hymn of praise taken from the psalms, a hymn of self-offering and of acclamation. A reception was held in the afternoon where the Sisters visited with many community members and employees.

75 Years

Sister Josephine Vincke made her first profession as a Benedictine sister in 1934 at St. Scholastica Monastery, Coving-ton, La. Sister Josie taught elementary school for over 40 years and also served as novice director. In 1988, her community in Louisiana closed and she transferred to St. Gertrude, where she served as kitchen director for many years.

Sister Catherine Manderfeld was born in Genesee, Idaho, and was taught by the Cottonwood Benedictines for eight years before she entered the St. Gertrude community at age 13. After she was professed in 1934, she taught in Catholic elementary schools for 14 years. Sister Catherine then spent 30 years teaching physics, chemistry and biology at St. Gertrude Academy and Prairie High School. After retiring from teaching, she worked as Curator of the Historical Museum at St. Gertrude.

70 Years

Sister Wilma Schlangen, from Stearns County, Minn., made her monastic profession in 1939. She served nine years as director of kitchen services at St. Martin in Lacey, Washington. She worked at St. Benedict Family Medical Center in Jerome, Idaho, and at St. Valentine Hospital, Wendell, Idaho. Sister Wilma served as manager of the monastery kitchen and gardens and she organized the canning for many years.

65 Years

Sister Bernard Lieser, also from Stearns County, was professed in 1949. She worked as a registered nurse and anesthetist in Idaho, Washington and Michigan for 52 years. Since her retirement in 2005, she has spent her time visiting the sick, attending parish functions, funerals and other celebrations.

Sister Louise Olberding came to the monastery from Emmett, Idaho and was professed in 1949. She worked as a lab technician at St. Benedict Family Medical Center in Jerome and St. Mary Hospital in Cottonwood, and taught biology at St. Gertrude Academy. She served in administration and chaplaincy in hospitals and nursing homes in Oregon for over 30 years.

Sister Theresa Dvorak was born in Nampa, Idaho. After her profession in 1949, she ministered as a cook to the Sisters on mission. Sister Theresa taught elementary school in most of the schools that the Cottonwood Sisters staffed. When she returned to the monastery, she worked as the community baker, made soap and salve, and studied the benefits of essential oils.

Learn more about the Monastery of St. Gertrude at www., or contact, or call 208-962-3224.

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