Sister Marcella (Clementine Elizabeth) Riener, 95, died January 28, 2004, at the Monastery of St. Gertrude in Cottonwood, ID. She was born October 11, 1908, to John and Mary Hutfles Riener, in Greencreek, ID.
She joined the Monastery of St. Gertrude in 1927 where she made her Monastic Profession two years later.
She was a much-loved teacher in Chewelah and Colton, WA and in Ferdinand, Genesee, St. Maries, Keuterville, Cottonwood, Greencreek, Grangeville, Nampa, Pocatello, and Rupert, Idaho. In her retirement she visited patients in the hospital and sewed clothes for the poor and for the pregnancy counseling center in Lewiston. The Pregnancy Center presented her a plaque of appreciation during her 90th birthday party.
Strong and gentle, prayerful and industrious, gracious and humorous, smiling and open-minded are words frequently used to describe Sr. Marcella. She loved being a Benedictine Sister and was featured in the community’s vocation appeal because she had told Prioress Jean Lalande that “the only thing I want for my future and our future is that new women will answer God’s call to come to the monastery and learn to love our way of life.” She also loved her family heritage and liked to share that she was born in a homestead house on the Nez Perce Reservation near Greencreek.
She was preceded in death by her parents and her siblings Clem, Joe, Carl, George, Elizabeth Wessels, Mary Baerlocher, Teresa Schmidt, Anastasia Schmidt, and Magdalene (Sr. Celestine). She is survived by her monastic community and numerous nieces and nephews with whom she remained very close.
A Vigil Service for Sr. Marcella was held in the Monastery chapel at 7:00 pm on Tuesday, February 3, 2004. The Mass of Christian Burial was held on Wednesday, February 4, 1:30 pm, also in the chapel. Sr. Marcella’s nephew, Fr. Joseph Schmidt, presided, and Chaplain Meinrad Schallberger, OSB, assisted. Sr. Marcella’s niece, Sr. Margie Schmidt, OSB, gave the reflections.