Sister Teresa Jackson to be installed as new prioress of Monastery of St. Gertrude in Idaho
News story by Tracy Simmons | FāVS News
On Dec. 3, Sister Teresa Jackson will be installed as the new prioress of the Monastery of St. Gertrude in Cottonwood, Idaho.
She succeeds Sister Mary Forman who died in April at the age of 75. Sister Mary had been elected in 2015 and served a six-year term before being reelected for a four-year term in 2021. During her tenure the sisters moved toward expanding the definition of the community as the Center for Benedictine Life at the Monastery of St. Gertrude.
Sister Teresa was elected as prioress (the head of a community of vowed women religious in the Catholic Church) by the monastic community earlier this month.
Continuing the Work
She said she plans to continue the work the monastery has been doing in reexamining what Benedictine life looks like.
“I’m incredibly happy to be working with so many people who are enabling this vision,” she said.
She explained that a life of community, hospitality, justice and stewardship isn’t just for monastics. About 20 sisters walk the halls of the monastery now and with the future of the monastery in mind, the sisters are pioneering new understanding of what it means to be a Benedictine community.
“At a time of precipitous decline in Catholic religious communities, we are focused on becoming something new,” Sister Teresa said in a previous interview, noting that more people are being drawn to the monastic, spiritual way of life. “…Maybe there are new ways to understand this call, this vocation.”
For instance, the oblates (lay people) connected to St. Gertrude’s are now leading themselves, independently. It’s the first time a sister hasn’t directed the oblate program. Also unavowed women are hoping to move into St. Gertrude’s in the coming years.
Sister Teresa earned degrees in history, law and spirituality before entering the Monastery of St. Gertrude in 1997. She professed first vows in 2000 and final vows in 2003. She has ministered as a retreat facilitator, volunteer director and vocation director, and is a certified spiritual director.
Her formal installation as prioress will take place Dec. 3 at 1:30 pm in the monastery chapel, 465 Keuterville Road, Cottonwood, Idaho.
Tracy Simmons is an award-winning journalist specializing in religion reporting and digital entrepreneurship. In her approximate 20 years on the religion beat, Simmons has tucked a notepad in her pocket and found some of her favorite stories aboard cargo ships in New Jersey, on a police chase in Albuquerque, in dusty Texas church bell towers, on the streets of New York and in tent cities in Haiti. Simmons has worked as a multimedia journalist for newspapers across New Mexico, Texas, Connecticut and Washington. She is the executive director of SpokaneFāVS.com, a digital journalism start-up covering religion news and commentary in Spokane, Washington. She also writes for The Spokesman-Review and national publications. She is a Scholarly Assistant Professor of Journalism at Washington State University.