Building Campaign

Dear friends,

Mary Forman

This is an exciting time for St. Gertrude’s. After 70 years, we will update the residential wing to meet the needs of ministries into the future. We will embark on a major remodel this fall. 

Here you will find a description of the building remodel project along with an overview of all of the ministries the remodel will support.

Our planning and fundraising teams are hard at work: We have finalized architectural plans, chosen a building contractor, and have a project completion schedule in hand. In addition, we have raised 80 percent of our $2.3 million goal. 

As we close in on our construction start date in November 2020, we turn to you for the final stretch of raising the funds that will complete this project. Please consider a donation toward our building campaign. Just fill out and return the enclosed form. If you know of anyone who would be interested in supporting this project, please share this information.

Thank you for partnering with us as we prepare for the next era of religious life here at St. Gertrude’s!


Sr. Mary Forman, O.S.B., Ph.D. 
Prioress [major superior]

P. S. On July 23 we held a Building Remodel Launch Q&A with Prioress Sr. Mary Forman, donor relations officer Carrie Barton, and project coordinator JoAnne Zimmer. Below is a link to a recording of the meeting. If any further questions come up, do not hesitate to reach out. 

Meeting recording:

Password: wqNJ8%a3


Summer 2020 marks the centennial of the laying of the cornerstone of the chapel of the Monastery of St. Gertrude — which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Unlike much historic architecture, the St. Gertrude’s Chapel is still utilized for the purpose it was constructed. For nearly a century Benedictine sisters have gathered here for daily Mass and prayer, supporting ministries in education, healthcare, and pastoral care throughout Idaho and beyond. Both physically and symbolically, the chapel is the center of a flourishing community of sisters and those who are partners in ministry, including nearly 100 oblates (lay members) in nine area groups throughout the Northwest.

Our legacy of rich Benedictine spirituality and service began with the courageous and prayerful leadership of Mother Johanna Zumstein, Sister Magdalene Suter, and Sister Rosalia Ruebli who arrived in 1882 from a cloister in Sarnen, Switzerland. Immediately they began responding to the needs of the times, founding schools and growing the community. In their long history, the Benedictine sisters have established 14 schools and two hospitals and maintained an unwavering focus on prayer, hospitality, and spiritual care.

Now, we look toward a new century of ministry. Thousands of people visit our rural and forested monastery each year to renew at our retreat center, learn more about history at our museum, experience monastic life through the volunteer program, attend classical and sacred music concerts in our acoustically acclaimed chapel, join the sisters for liturgies, and more. Everything we do is guided by the Rule of Benedict that instructs us to receive all as Christ. We are consistently affirmed that our visitors are enriched with connection, tranquility, education, and deepening prayer. We continue to live and demonstrate with our lives the spirit of our founding sisters.

To prepare for the future, we are embarking on a major remodel of our Annex (shown above), the residential wing of the Monastery. Built in 1948, the Annex provided housing for sisters that mostly served in ministries away from home. Now, over seventy years later, the Annex is in need of updated plumbing and electrical as well as asbestos abatement. A six-month remodel project will begin in November 2020. 

In addition, individual rooms will be enlarged and will feature private bathrooms. (Currently there are common bathrooms on each floor.) The renovations will create an energy-efficient residence for those who live at the Monastery and coordinate ministries, which serve 20,000 guests, artists, and retreatants annually. With a deep commitment to the future of monastic life, according to the Rule of Benedict, we will welcome new vocations as well as Benedictine Cohousing Companions — and host sisters, volunteers, artists, and oblates in a contemporary monastery home. 

Project Goal:

Create a functional and safe monastery home — with a deep commitment to the future of monastic life and emerging new forms according to the Rule of Benedict. Renovation Fundraising Goal: $2.3 million

Project Description: 

~ Outdated mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems will be replaced and asbestos removed to meet contemporary building codes. ​

~ Residents will be provided with safe, convenient, and modern bathroom facilities adjoining living spaces.

~ We will transform our dormitory-style building into a permanent Benedictine residential community.  ​

~ Upgrades will reduce long-term operational costs in an energy-efficient residence.

Questions? Contact Carrie Barton, Donor Relations Officer, at or 208-962-5060.

We believe that nurturing a center of hospitality, beauty, and healing that truly welcomes every person is needed in this world, now more than ever. As always, we look forward to welcoming you to the Monastery of St. Gertrude.