May 30, 1929 ~ October 17, 2020


That in all things God may be glorified.”

Sister Joan Smith, OSB, was born into eternal life at 6:41 a.m. on October 17, 2020, in the presence of her sisters and caregivers at the Monastery of St. Gertrude in Cottonwood, Idaho. She was 91 years old and had been a Benedictine sister for 72 years. She will be remembered for her dedicated service to the Historical Museum at St. Gertrude, the Monastery’s development endeavors, and education. 

Sister Joan was born in St. Maries, Idaho, to Elmer Smith and Marjorie Caswell Smith on May 30, 1929. She knew as a first grader that she wanted to become a Benedictine sister. She attended St. Gertrude’s Academy on a scholarship and became a novice the summer after graduation. She made First Profession the following year on August 16, 1948.

She taught school in various towns while finishing her education. Then she taught at St. Gertrude’s Academy until it closed in 1970. She became secretary to the prioress and soon took the opportunity to spend two years studying theology. More recently, she wrote project grants for the Monastery and helped make the Grotto Garden, a memorial place for the Monastery’s major benefactors, become a reality. She also served at the Historical Museum at St. Gertrude, managing the extensive collection that celebrates the history of the Camas Prairie.

“As I have grown older,” she wrote. “I know that all of these life experiences have brought me to the person I am today. As the Benedictine motto says: ‘That in all things God may be glorified.’”

Sister Joan is survived by her sister Noreen Haler, nieces and nephews, and her Benedictine sisters. The Rosary Vigil was held at 7 p.m. Pacific Time on Wednesday, November 11, and the Mass of Christian Burial was held at 11:15 a.m. on Thursday, November 12 — both services were live-streamed from the Monastery of St. Gertrude Chapel. Interment will be at a later date. Memorial gifts can be made to the Monastery of St. Gertrude.