Sister Mary Forman
September 7, 1947 – April 20, 2023
Sister Mary Forman, OSB, 75, prioress of the Monastery of St. Gertrude, Cottonwood, Idaho, passed into eternal life on April 20, 2023, at the monastery.
Sister Mary was born in Boise, Idaho, on September 7, 1947, to Major Neal Forman and Eugenia T. Forman. After earning a bachelor degree from Idaho State University, she worked as a pharmacist, co-founded the Terry Reilly Clinic in Nampa, the first low-income clinic in that area. She entered the Monastery of St. Gertrude in 1973, professing her vows in 1976. She subsequently earned a master’s degree in theology from St. John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota. At the University of Toronto, she earned both a master’s degree and Ph.D. in medieval studies, and was honored with an open fellowship. Sister Mary’s dear friend, Abbot Placid Solari, chancellor at Belmont Abbey College, North Carolina, planned to present her with an honorary doctorate during Spring, 2023.
Her ministries were varied over the decades and spread throughout Idaho, North Dakota, Appalachia, Toronto, and Minnesota. She served as a pharmacist, mission effectiveness educator, pastoral associate, and director of religious education. As a youth minister, she helped form the Idaho Catholic Youth program that continues today with the annual ICYC conference. teaching assistant, adjunct professor, and visiting professor of theology, spending many years at St. John’s University/the College of St. Benedict. Her deep knowledge of Benedictine spirituality, charism and life also provided opportunities for her to minister as a spiritual director, retreat and workshop facilitator, and a consultant for men’s and women’s monastic communities.
Sister Mary was elected a councilor for the Federation of St. Gertrude in the 1990s, as well as a board member and, for two years, president of the American Benedictine Academy. She also served as associate editor of the American Benedictine Review, Magistra: A Journal of Women’s Spirituality in History, and Vox Benedictina.
She wrote many articles on Benedictine topics, the book: Praying with the Desert Mothers, and edited One Heart, One Soul, Many Communities. Among her other interests, she enjoyed liturgical dance.
Elected prioress of the Monastery of St. Gertrude in 2015, she served a six-year term, reelected for a four-year term in 2021. During her tenure, an extensive renovation of the Sisters’ residence was completed, as the sisters moved toward expanding the definition of the community as the Center for Benedictine Life at the Monastery of St. Gertrude.
Sister Mary was preceded in death by her parents. She is survived by her sisters: Andy Herbert, Tualatin, Oregon, and Barbara K. Allen, Coventry, Rhode Island; nieces and nephews; and the members of her monastic community.
A vigil was held on April 25 in the chapel at the Monastery of St. Gertrude, with a Mass of Christian Burial celebrated in the chapel at the Monastery of St. Gertrude on April 26. Burial took place in the monastery cemetery.
Blackmer Funeral Home, Grangeville, Idaho, handled arrangements. Memorial gifts can be made to the Monastery of St. Gertrude, 465 Keuterville Road, Cottonwood, Idaho 83522, or via the website.