Interviews from Sisters and supporters at the Monastery of St. Gertrude's in Cottonwood, Idaho.
Sister Carol Ann: The Church’s Role in Social Justice
In this episode, we continue our conversation with Sister Carol Ann from December, when she gave us an overview of the Church’s role in social justice and the history of the sisters’ political activism over the years.
You can hear how passionate Sister Carol Ann is as she explains how the monastery prioritizes their efforts to get to the root cause of societal issues in the local community, such as hunger and environmental welfare.
We start this episode discussing the various organizational layers within the Catholic Church and how those layers may or may not be aligned in their stances on social justice.
Sister Mary Marge: A Natural Educator
Back in September, Sister Mary Marge regaled us with the humorous story of a last-minute posting transfer that had her teaching in Minot, ND during a blizzard instead of in Boise as she had been expecting.
Her joy for education is evident, as you can hear both when she talks about launching an after-school religious studies program for high schoolers in the wake of the closure of St. Gertrude’s high school, and also when discussing her own monastic studies in Rome.
She is a natural educator. Listen until the end to hear her explain one of the St. Benedict’s quotes at the monastery that is much deeper than it may appear on the surface.
Sister Placida: Isolation
For many around the world, the uncertainty surrounding Covid-19 has brought about a wide range of emotions from grief, to confusion, fear, and anger. Even those that feel reenergized from voluntarily time in solitude have been upended by the forced isolation.
I spoke with Sister Placida last week who has had the opportunity to take a voluntary year of solitude away from the monastery community. Despite having a different catalyst for her time alone, she experienced many of the same struggles we are going through today and offers great insight into how to continue moving through these challenging times.
Please forgive us for the less-than-amazing audio quality as social distancing measures prohibited our usual recording setup. This was recorded from a phone conversation, and I’m very much looking forward to being able to visit again in person to record more of Sister Placida’s stories from her time in the hermitage. For now, I hope that this conversation can be useful to you and that maybe some of the things Sister Placida has to say will surprise you, the way they did me.
Sister Janet: Destined for the Monastery
Listening to Sister Janet's talk about all the serendipitous moments in her young adult life will no doubt convince you that she was always destined to be at the monastery.
While she may not have realized it right away, God illuminated his path for her when she first visited the local church in Nampa after moving to the town from Phoenix to help care for her ailing grandfather.
In what she calls a “small world” moment, she discovers one of her previous high school teachers is the pastor of the church. When she asks him about volunteering for Vacation Bible School, she is introduced to the program leader, Sister Mary Kay, who was the prioress of St. Gertrude’s.
In this episode, she’ll tell you the fascinating story of how she came to be at St. Gertrudes, and the lifted purple Chevy Malibu that got her there.
She starts her tale with a quick anecdote about how that purple Malibu, and Father Shaun, saved her from very harrowing driving conditions during one of her first “real” winters in Idaho.
Sister Sue Ellen: Astute Answers to Tricky Questions
As a catechist teacher for elementary school children, Sister Sue Ellen was on the receiving end of many challenging questions from her young students.
In this clip, she humorously recalls some of those questions, which can stump even the most well-versed theologians.
In this role, Sister Sue Ellen’s religious beliefs deepened as she thoughtfully answered each question, respectful of the fact that some parents may teach the bible literally while others may not, and illuminating how the bible and science support each other.
Listen to some of her astute answers to these tricky questions and the children’s equally insightful observations of their own.
Father Meinrad: Joining a Divorce Ministry
In this episode, we are rejoining Father Meinrad, the chaplain for the Sisters. We first met him in August when he shared his feelings on the places he’s called home, from his childhood home to his home monastery, and feeling at home at St. Gertrude’s.
Not that long ago, divorce was considered a faux-pas and divorce ministry was virtually unheard of, with minimal support or training resources. Father Meinrad talks about his humbling experience of joining a divorce ministry, where he learned listening was more important than having the “right answer”, and how the principle of “death and resurrection” can be witnessed in those moving through the grieving process. You can hear the genuine joy he talks about the deep friendships that were born during times of suffering.
Sister Plácida: Isolation
This was a lovely, calm, and reflective look into elected or chosen solitude and the real experience of that. It was helpful to hear of Sr. Placida’s lives experience in light of our current enforced isolation and solitude due to COVID 19.
The sound quality was fine, even though the creators apologized at the beginning for any shortcoming. Very enjoyable!
A gem of a podcast
I am so happy to have stumbled across this podcast, quite by accident. It is charming, engaging, and, to me anyhow, very inspiring.