In Memoriam: Sister Radegunda Bischofberger, OSB

imbischofbergerSister Radegunda (Frieda) Bischofberger, 101, died October 19, 2003, at the Monastery of St. Gertrude in Cottonwood, ID. She was born to Johann Baptist and Theresia Klauer Bischofberger on March 28, 1902, in Appenzell, I. Rh., Switzerland.

Eleven days aboard the ship Relgenland brought her to the United States in 1923 where she made Profession as a Benedictine Sister at St. Gertrude’s in Cottonwood two years later. In Idaho she ministered as a domestic worker at St. Gertrude’s and St. Michael’s monasteries in Cottonwood, St. Valentine’s Hospital in Wendell, St. Anthony’s School in Greencreek, St. Joseph’s School in Genesee, St. Paul’s School in Nampa, St. Anthony’s School in Nezperce, Our Lady of Consolation (later St. Mary’s) Hospital in Cottonwood, St. Benedict’s Hospital in Jerome. She served in Washington at Holy Rosary School in Pomeroy and St. Mary’s School in Chewelah. At age 88 she officially retired from 15 years of part-time service in the monastery kitchen, but continued to do light housekeeping at the museum for another eight years.

Sister Radegunda thoroughly enjoyed her 100th birthday, especially the friends who surprised her with a bouquet of 100 scarlet roses. She loved reading, music, creating hair-pin lace afghans, and caring for the monastery cats. She kept in touch with her family in Switzerland and enjoyed several trips to visit them.

Combined with her adventuresome spirit, her quick wit, ready laugh and twinkling eyes charmed people. Beyond that she inspired them by her deep faith and prayer.

She was the last sister from Switzerland in the community. Her eight brothers and sisters preceded her in death; she is survived by her monastic community and many nieces and nephews.

A Vigil Service for Sister Bischofberger was held in the Monastery chapel at 7:00 p.m. on October 21, 2003, and the Mass of Christian Burial on October 22 at 2:00 p.m., also in the chapel. Chaplain Meinrad Schallberger, OSB, presided. Prioress Jean Lalande, OSB, gave the reflections.