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


Idaho Benedictine Sisters welcome interns from Whitworth University to monastery

the Inland Register

(From the July 21, 2016 edition of the Inland Register)

Kaley Alness and Katie Waltar are summer interns in the Monastic Immersion Experience focused on caregiving at the Benedictine Sister’s Monastery of St. Gertrude in Cottonwood, Idaho. (IR photo courtesy of the Monastery of St. Gertrude)

The Monastery of St. Gertrude in Cottonwood, Idaho, offers unique opportunities to experience monastic life through the Monastic Immersion Experience, with focus areas in caregiving and arts.

This summer, two students from Whitworth University in Spokane, Katie Waltar and Kaley Alness, are participating for 10 weeks through their school’s Ekklesia Fellowship program.

“I like learning more about the Catholic mindset, the symbols and practices,” said Waltar. “I have always been interested in more formal liturgy.”

Waltar grew up in Post Falls Idaho and will begin a Masters of Divinity at Duke University this fall. At Whitworth, she studied English literature and theology. Last summer, she served as a parish assistant in Scotland through the Ekklesia program.

Students apply for the Ekklesia program and then are sent on summer internships based on their interests, from church life to non-profits.

Both Alness and Waltar expressed interest in community health and monastic life and were placed at St. Gertrude. They will engage in 20 hours of caregiving a week on the assisted living floor of the monastery, and then engage in classes on Lectio Divina and other topics in monastic spirituality.

Alness was recommended for the Ekklesia program by a professor. She grew up in Auburn, Wash., and has had most of her ministry experiences working with youth. She is a junior majoring in Public Health.

“I didn’t know how comfortable I would be here,” she said. “I am generally not around anyone over the age of 50 and I have never been to a monastery. I would say it’s been a pretty easy transition.”

The Monastic Immersion Experience offers opportunities year-round to experience monastic life.


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