In Memoriam: Sister Evangela Bossert, OSB

January 2, 1930 ~ December 16, 2019

“The heart is the deep center of the self where God abides.”

Sister Evangela Bossert, OSB, was born into eternal life at 1:36 p.m. on December 16, 2019, in the presence of her sisters and caregivers at the Monastery of St. Gertrude in Cottonwood, Idaho. She was 89 years old and had been a Benedictine sister for 56 years. She will be remembered for her teaching, writing, and spiritual guidance.

Sister Evangela was born to Earl and Hazel Hiatt Bossert on January 2, 1930, in Kansas City, Missouri. In college, while training to be an English teacher, she worked as an x-ray instructor and also took art classes. She became interested in becoming a sister during a college course in church history at Kansas City University. During a retreat, she confided to her retreat director, a Jesuit from Seattle University, that she wanted to become a Benedictine but did not want to stay in the Midwest, where all the Benedictine communities were quite large. He suggested St. Gertrude’s. She came out on a train by herself and in 1963, at the age of 33, made her First Profession. 

After spending the first part of her career teaching middle and high school English and History, she returned to Idaho State University for a master’s degree in English and then a Ph.D. in English. She expressed her interest in transformational writing with her dissertation, “Primitive Consciousness in the Poetry of Gary Snyder.” She became director of the Monastery’s InnSpire sabbatical and spirituality program. She also taught Centering Prayer and began working with the Monastery’s growing number of oblates, or lay members.

Sister Evangela’s emphasis on the spiritual experience and contemplative prayer has been expressed through her work as a teacher and writer. “Early Christianity rooted the soul in the heart,” she has written. “The heart is the deep center of the self where God abides. God initiates awareness of this self in us and makes possible the conscious entry into God’s presence.”

This desire to more clearly align the spiritual with the heart led her to translate from Latin some of St. Gertrude’s writings from the book, The Herald of God’s Loving-Kindness — Gertrude’s heartfelt revelations of God’s love. Sister Evangela had studied Latin throughout her education and wanted to translate the medieval mystic’s writings in a way in which contemporary seekers could relate. She also added commentary and reflections. The result is Gertrude of Helfta: Companion for the Millennium and it is dedicated to the oblates of St. Gertrude’s.

Sr. Evangela also spent a good deal of her later years on iconography. “You’re painting for the spiritual experience and not to make a representational piece of art,” she said.

Sister Evangela was preceded in death by her brother Earl Jr. “Buddy,” twin brother Donald, and younger sister Christy Bossert. She is survived by her brother James Adam Bossert, several nieces and great nieces and nephews, and her Benedictine sisters. The Rosary Vigil will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, December 26, 2019, and the Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 1:30 p.m. Friday, December 27, 2019 — both will take place in the Monastery of St. Gertrude Chapel. A reception will follow. Memorial gifts can be made to the Monastery of St. Gertrude.