Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington



From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 1453, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302


Cottonwood, Idaho Benedictine Sisters elect new prioress

the Inland Register

(From the April 16, 2015 edition of the Inland Register)

Sister Mary Forman OSB is the new prioress of the Monastery of St. Gertrude in Cottonwood, Idaho. (IR photo courtesy of the Monastery of St. Gertrude)

After a long process of prayer and discernment, the Benedictine Sisters of the Monastery of St. Gertrude in Cottonwood, Idaho, have elected Sister Mary Forman as the monastery’s 14th prioress.

She replaces Benedictine Sister Clarissa Goeckner, who served as prioress for 10 years: an initial term of six years, followed by a second term of four years.

The formal election took place March 4. Through a week-long process, the community reviewed their directions and goals then set about identifying who among them possessed the qualities to lead at this time. Contrary to typical elections, the group seeks “convergence and consensus” through a facilitated process of prayer, discussions and nominee presentations.

Sister Mary will be formally installed on Saturday, June 13.

“Good leadership activates the imagination of the community to find new possibilities, wider vision and renewed commitment,” said Sister Clarissa. “Sister Mary’s energy and passion for the Benedictine way of life will certainly activate our imaginations to find these new possibilities, wider vision and inspire us to a renewed commitment to prayer, justice and peacemaking. Sister Mary’s leadership is so right for us at this time.”

Sister Mary grew up in Boise, Idaho, where she was employed as a pharmacist after graduating from Idaho State University in 1970. Before entering the Monastery in 1973, and afterward, she continued her work as a pharmacist. She also taught release time classes and served in various parishes as a youth minister, pastoral associate, DRE and as retreat minister at the Monastery.

Sister Mary’s interest in monastic studies has guided much of her work, beginning with teaching Latin at the Center for Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto. She was a councilor for the Federation of St. Gertrude and the past president and board member of the American Benedictine Academy.

Currently she is an Associate Professor in Monastic Studies at the School of Theology, Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minn. She also teaches at the College of St. Benedict.

“I am looking forward to this new adventure with the community as we explore how our future will unfold,” she said. “I see this time as a grace-filled opportunity for the community for us to deepen our Benedictine charism and the unfolding of our vision and mission. I trust that the support and prayers of our employees, oblates and partners in ministry will carry us forward.”


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