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Sister Maureen Truland: A life of gratitude and joy

Sister Maureen Truland: A life of gratitude and joy - (25-01-2021)

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Benedictine Sister of Perpetual Adoration Maureen Truland, OSB, died Jan. 23, 2021.

She was born Margaret Mary Truland on Sept. 10, 1925, in Lancaster, New Hampshire, to Daniel and Mary Robinson Truland. She joined an older brother, Daniel.

Peggy, as she was called, was an avid fan of outdoor sports. She spent much of her time playing tennis, mountain climbing, bicycling, swimming, skiing and riding horses. She loved her childhood, which included precious time spent with grandparents and other extended family members living nearby. Summer vacations included camping and visiting Canada.

After her high school graduation, Peggy attended college at the University of New Hampshire at Durham for two years before transferring to Mount Saint Mary College in New Hampshire to study biology. She graduated in 1947, and then found her way to Fordham University in New York City, where in 1949 she received a master’s degree in biology. She applied for and received a job teaching biology and chemistry for two years at Mount Saint Scholastica College, Atchison, Kansas. It was there she interacted with Benedictine Sisters and often joined them during vacations and weekends, singing the Divine Office in choir. She accompanied students on liturgy club trips to nearby Conception Abbey and the monastery of the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in Clyde, Missouri.

“It was my first experience with non-teaching Benedictine Sisters whose ministry centered on prayer and adoration,” she recalled.

During the summer of 1950, Peggy joined two friends on a European tour, which included sites in England, Holland, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Germany and Italy. She attended a general audience with Pope Pius XII in Saint Peter’s Square. Afterward, she returned to New York to work for the chair of the biology department at Fordham University. During this time, she enjoyed trips to Cape Cod. Peggy attended daily Mass and began seriously considering a call to religious life.

“Though I enjoyed working at Fordham, I did miss the Benedictine atmosphere and often thought of the sisters at Clyde,” she said.

Discussions with a spiritual director led her to discern that she was searching for a contemplative rather than apostolic calling, and she began inquiries with the Benedictine Sisters in Clyde.

“I made the right decision, one that I never regretted,” she said.

Peggy entered the monastery in Clyde in 1952. She made her first monastic profession on Feb. 11, 1954, receiving the name Sister Maureen. She made her final monastic profession on March 12, 1959. In the early years, she worked in the kitchen and the printery. She later served in the correspondence department, as librarian and as assistant novice director, beginning a long association with Sister Pascaline Coff, OSB, who was novice director at the time.

Beginning in 1958, Sister Maureen joined three other Sisters who attended the Benedictine Institute of Sacred Theology (BIST) each summer in Minnesota. This was a pioneering effort to provide theological training for women religious. In 1964, Sister Maureen graduated from the program with a master’s degree in Sacred Doctrine granted by Saint John’s University in Collegeville.

“It was a very enriching experience, not only for the excellent classes but also for becoming friends with Sisters from all over the United States, Canada and Mexico,” she said.

In 1965, Sister Maureen was appointed director of novices. She held that position until 1966 when she was transferred to the newly constructed monastery in St. Louis. She was frequently called upon to give classes in monastic history and spirituality. At the General Chapter in 1968, Sister Maureen was elected assistant prioress general. It was during this time that the Sisters were adapting to the changes presented by the Second Vatican Council. This was also when she joined other Sisters on revising the congregation’s constitution. In September 1973, she joined Sister Pascaline, who was prioress general, on a trip to Europe to tour other monasteries and study altar bread production at Varensell, Germany, where automated equipment was being used.

Sister Maureen was elected to a second term as assistant prioress general in 1974, this time serving under Sister Mary Audrey Jones, OSB. Following that service, she became junior director. In 1982, Sister Maureen was elected prioress general. As prioress general, she oversaw the closing of the monastery in Kansas City, Missouri, renovations to the St. Louis community and the initial stages of founding a monastery in Wyoming. During her years of monastic life, she also lived at the monastery in Sand Springs, Oklahoma, and at San Benito, an experimental small community in San Jacinto, California.

Sister Maureen moved to Our Lady of Rickenbach in 2009. Failing health and diminishing vision made her last years difficult, and she longed to go to heaven. Sister Maureen died on morning of January 23, 2021, just as mass was beginning. Several Sisters had been praying with her earlier that morning. Sister Cathleen Marie Timberlake, OSB and three nurses were her at the time of her death.

Sister Maureen is survived by nieces, nephews and her monastic community. Her funeral liturgy and burial at our Mount Calvary Cemetery are scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021.

Over the course of almost 67 years of monastic life, Sister Maureen felt an immense gratitude for all that God had done in her life.

“This is all his work,” she once said. “I thank God I’m here, after not knowing religious life at all growing up. It just worked out that way and left me with a lot of gratitude and a life filled with joy.”