Home | Contact Us
Benedictine Sisters
News Center
Harmony News
Spirit & Life Magazine
Please share media and advertising request with Kelley Baldwin, director of communications, at kelley@bspa.us or (660) 944-2221

God, travel and education: the loves of Sister Gladys Ruth

God, travel and education: the loves of Sister Gladys Ruth - (03-05-2024)

< back

Benedictine Sister of Perpetual Adoration Gladys Ruth Noreen, OSB died May 2, 2024.

She was born on Nov. 7, 1936, in Minneapolis and was the eldest of two daughters born to Ruth and Carl Noreen. Her father emigrated from Sweden as a young man, and Swedish customs were a large part of Noreen family life. Gladys was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church and was active in many groups during her childhood and youth. In high school she was most active in drama groups.

Gladys attended a small junior college sponsored by the Lutheran Church, where she developed many long-lasting friendships and found an outlet in sports. She did preparatory studies for the diaconate, and classes were deeply scriptural.

“Much of my love for the Word was implanted in those years,” she once said.

She transferred to Valparaiso University and lived in Deaconess Hall with other like-minded students. They had morning and evening prayer together and attended the university worship daily.

“It was somewhat like convent life except that we were all expected to live and develop as Christians with little nagging or ‘formation,’” she said.

After graduation, Gladys served for six years in North Dakota and Minnesota parishes, teaching and directing youth. In 1964 Gladys wanted to go to the inner city and felt that nursing would be an asset. She studied nursing for three years at Lutheran Deaconess Hospital in Minneapolis. She then worked in an underprivileged neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York.

Gladys met Sister Mary Pascaline Coff, OSB at a Christian Women Who Minister encounter in 1971 at Marillac College in St. Louis. Sister Pascaline invited her to visit the convent before returning to New York. Gladys made a private retreat the following April, after which she asked to be accepted into the community.

Upon her return to New York, Gladys resigned her many positions and began instruction in the Catholic faith. She was confirmed in the chapel of the Visitation Sisters in Brooklyn on July 11, the Feast of St. Benedict. Gladys spent one year at the Benedictine Sisters’ Tucson, Arizona, monastery before entering the novitiate. She made her first monastic profession on Oct. 20, 1975, and final vows on Oct. 28, 1978.

During her years in community, Sister Gladys served in the monasteries in Clyde, St. Louis, San Diego, and Dayton, Wyoming. In her early years in community, she helped prepare a study program in patristics for the Congregation and was responsible for the Scripture lectionary used for the Liturgy of the Hours. She wrote a book,Commentary and Notes on the Rule of Saint Benedict.”

As a registered nurse, she served as infirmarian and was administrator of Saint Benedict Health Care Center in St. Louis. Other assignments included work in maintenance, kitchen and the altar bread department. She also helped in the correspondence department. She served as vocation director in San Diego and as superior and oblate director in Dayton. She taught Scripture classes in Dayton and to Sisters in the Congregation’s healthcare facility.

Sister Gladys never stopped learning. She earned a master’s degree in religious studies from Washington University. She also earned graduate credits in spiritual directions from Shalem Institute in Washington, D.C. and from Eden Seminary in St. Louis. She received a doctor of ministry degree in 2002 from the Graduate Theological Foundation in Mishawaka, Indiana.

Sister Gladys was privileged to represent the Alliance for International Monasticism (AIM) in Uganda and Kenya in 2003 and had the opportunity for sightseeing and was thrilled to see numerous animals in the wild. Sister Gladys loved Africa and was delighted to spend time at Saint Benedict’s Priory in Tororo, Uganda. She directed retreats and re-organized the library. She gave Scripture classes to the novices and postulants in Nairobi.

She loved to exercise her creativity. She made items like paper and bath bombs, which were sold in the monastery gift shop. She was known for her fruitcakes and homemade wine.

Sister Gladys is survived by her monastic family. Her funeral liturgy is scheduled for May 4, 2024, with burial in Mount Calvary Cemetery in Clyde.