Who We Are
Sister Clarissa Goeckner
Sister Clarissa was born on May 22, 1939 in Cottonwood — just a few miles down the road from St. Gertrude’s. She attended St. Joseph’s elementary and St. Gertrude’s Academy. She entered the monastery in 1957 and made final profession on August 11, 1961. She received her bachelor’s degree in English from St. Martin’s University.
She holds three masters degrees from University of San Francisco in Leadership, Religious Education and Counseling and has spent a long career in education. She taught at St. Anthony’s in Pocatello, Sacred Heart in Boise, Sts. Peter and Paul in Grangeville and St. Mary’s in Boise, where she was also the principal. She taught at Presentation High School in San Francisco and has served as University of San Francisco’s associate director of campus ministry.
In 1989 she was appointed assistant prioress at St. Gertrude’s. During this time she taught outreach classes and served as adjunct faculty member for Lewis-Clark State College, Lewiston. In 1993 she became coordinator of Children’s and Family Catechesis for the Diocese of Boise. In 2004 Bishop Michael Driscoll appointed her to direct the Office of Catholic Education Ministries for the diocese. In addition to these full-time positions she has participated on national, diocesan, local and Monastery committees.
Sister Clarissa was elected as the 13th prioress of the community in 2005. Her first term included serving as spiritual leader and director of strategic planning. She has also overseen the capital campaign, celebration of the centennial in 2009, opening of the Inn at St. Gertrude and launch of the Spirituality and the Arts program. She was reelected for another four-year term in 2011. After her terms as prioress, she is continuing to contribute to the Development and Spirituality & the Arts teams.
“I am deeply committed to the monastic community, the directions that we embrace together, and the many ways we touch the world through our corporate ministries: Spirituality Ministry, the Historical Museum, and stewardship of our land; as well as our new bed and breakfast, the Healing Center, the Gift Shop, and all the work of Sisters on mission,” she says. “It’s an honor to serve as a leader and catalyst for promoting our ministries which embody our core values of healing hospitality, grateful simplicity and creative peacemaking. I have been honored to lead such a talented and generous group of sisters. “