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Radiating Peace: Remembering Sister Louise Gertrude

Radiating Peace: Remembering Sister Louise Gertrude - (15-08-2016)

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Benedictine Sister of Perpetual Adoration Louise Gertrude Kuborn,OSB died peacefully on Aug. 4, 2016.

She was born on Feb. 23, 1934, in Kaukauna, Wisconsin, to Matthias and Agatha Berendsen Kuborn. She was the fourth of five children and attended Holy Cross grade school, taught by the Racine Dominican Sisters, before graduating from Kaukauna High School in 1952.

Even though Louise Gertrude had an aunt and a cousin who were Racine Dominicans, she was drawn to contemplative religious life. Her Aunt Tessie subscribed to the Benedictine Sisters’ magazine, Tabernacle&Purgatory (now called Spirit&Life), in the hope that young Louise would be encouraged to read it, and she did.

Even though Louise took a job at a bank right after high school graduation, her heart was already in the monastery. She quit after just one day at the bank because she didn’t want them spending time or money training her for a job that she did not intend to keep. “I immediately wrote to Clyde for an application and just knew without a doubt that I would be accepted,” she said. “I felt called to the Benedictine Sisters because of their focus on prayer and adoration. Prayer was no stranger in our home, and the rosary was prayed together daily. The prayerful example of my parents spoke louder than any words.”

Louise entered the Benedictine Sisters on Aug. 6, 1952, and made her first monastic profession on Feb. 11, 1954, taking the name Sister Mary Mark. She made her final monastic profession on April 10, 1959. She received permission to return to her baptismal name, as Sister Louise Gertrude, in 1971.

Sister Louise Gertrude served as a generous, caring member for a long time in the Congregation’s communities in Mundelein, Illinois, St. Louis and Clyde. She also lived in the monasteries in Tucson, Arizona, and San Diego, California. Her duties ranged from kitchen to maintenance to altar bread production to healthcare. She served for 12 years as a notary public for the community in St. Louis.

Beginning in the late 1970s, Sister Louise Gertrude was a conscientious bookkeeper in Tucson, St. Louis and Clyde. She served three different Congregational treasurers over the years. When she finally retired from finance work after almost 29 years, Sister Pat Nyquist, OSB remarked, “Sister Louise Gertrude will be turning off her calculator and taking up another assignment. She has been a steady presence through the tenures of three successful treasurers. We thank her for her many years of trustworthy and diligent stewardship.”

Sister Louise’s quiet demeanor was often a calming presence to others. Her twinkling eyes and soft smile radiated a peace that came from within. When she transferred from the St. Louis monastery to Clyde in 2001, Sister Mary Jane Romero, OSB told her, “May God bless you all for all you have done for the St. Louis community in your loving, quiet, gentle way.”

Sister Louise Gertrude enjoyed embroidering, crossword puzzles and puzzles involving logic. Her counted-cross-stitch pieces and crocheted doilies were prized and admired. She inherited and gave tender care and new additions to a beautiful stamp collection that had been started by Sisters in the Congregation before her time. 

Sister Louise Gertrude once said she was most grateful for her vocation to the Benedictine Sisters. “I am also grateful for the companionship and example of each Sister as we daily live this monastic life together,” she added. 

In late 2015 Sister Louise was diagnosed with advanced lymphoma. She chose to have minimal treatment and moved to the Sisters’ healthcare center, Our Lady of Rickenbach, where she was also under the care of hospice. She gradually lost her hearing due to cancer. That was a real suffering, although she gamely encouraged visitors to communicate with her by writing on a white board.

Sister Louise Gertrude is survived by cousins and her monastic family. Her funeral liturgy and burial at Mount Calvary Cemetery took place Aug. 8, 2016.