Sisters Esther Velasquez, Rose Marie Nutsch, Sue Ellen Drexler, Mary Forman (prioress), and Clarissa Goeckner (who gave the homily at the celebration held June 11 at the Monastery of St. Gertrude in Cottonwood).
COTTONWOOD In a triple Jubilee celebration, three sisters of the Monastery of St. Gertrude renewed their monastic vows on Saturday, June 11, 2016. Sister Rose Marie Nutsch and sister Esther Velasquez celebrated their Golden Jubilees (50 years) and sister Sue Ellen Drexler celebrated her silver jubilee (25 years).
Sister Sue Ellen made her first profession July 11, 1991. She has spent 16 years as a teacher, first as a kindergarten and second grade teacher, and then later as a catechist and tutor. Now sister Sue Ellen works in the Development Office and is the Monastery librarian. She also participates in the music ministry and is a member of the Monastery music group, the Von Gertrude Ensemble.
Sister Sue Ellen’s journey as a sister has also led her to a broader definition of prayer.
“I’ve realized that God calls us in different ways to prayer. It could be through taking walks in nature, art, writing, or reading,” sister Drexler said. “I need to be attentive to which way God is calling me to be in relationship. God always gets me on track, even after I haven’t been listening. God is the judge yet the only one that doesn’t judge.”
Sister Rose Marie Nutsch was a teacher for 45 years. She taught second grade at Sacred Heart in Boise for 32 years. She was professed at the age of 19 on Aug. 6, 1966. Sister Rose Marie now lives at home at the monastery and is the house manager.
“My life as a Benedictine has been life giving. It has given me the support to be prayerful and to live community life. In return I was able to minister to children through teaching. We are Benedictines and we are here to see to the needs of the people. We are always responding to this call in new ways,” sister Nutsch said.
Sister Esther Velasquez has recently served at St. Joseph Family Center in Spokane and is looking to become more involved in ministries to the homeless in that city. In addition, sister Esther frequently volunteers at the Southside Food Bank on Saturdays. She grew up in Gooding, Idaho and later in the labor camp 22 miles outside of Rupert, Idaho. She made her First Profession on August 6, 1966 at the age of 20.
“I am excited and relieved I made it,” sister Velasquez smiled. “I know more about what I am committing to than I did 50 years ago. Despite the challenges of monastic life, I am still willing to renew and keep going and serve the Lord with all my being. Whatever happens in the future, God is with me.”