Who We Are

Sister Mary Forman


Sister Mary grew up in Boise, Idaho, where she was employed as a pharmacist after graduating from Idaho State University in 1970.

Before entering the Monastery in 1973, and afterward, she continued her work as a pharmacist. She also taught release time classes and served in various parishes as a youth minister, pastoral associate, DRE, and as retreat minister at the Monastery.

Her interest in monastic studies has guided much of her work, beginning with teaching Latin at the Center for Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto. She was a councilor for the Federation of St. Gertrude and the past president and board member of the American Benedictine Academy.

She was also an associate professor in Monastic Studies at the School of Theology, Saint John’s University in Collegeville, MN and taught at the College of St. Benedict. Her research has revealed that many forms of monastic life have been lived through the centuries, each responding to the events of the culture and society. “A truly inspiring surprise has been to discover that the earliest monasteries were frequently established by Christian women, following the example of Christ by establishing house churches and later household communities near major Christian centers in the Mediterranean region.”

Sister Mary was formally installed as the 14th prioress of the Monastery on June 13th, 2015. She replaced Sister Clarissa Goeckner, who served as prioress for ten years, serving an initial term of six years and then a second term of four years.

Without a doubt, Sr. Mary believes being a sister at St. Gertrude’s is the best place for her. “The first time I drove up to the Monastery in 1972,” she said, “I knew that I had come ‘home’. It was a graced moment of deep inner knowing God’s love for me, which has been true ever since.”

She would advise anyone seeking a closer relationship with God to “follow the deepest, discerned promptings of your heart and you will foster joy in this life, even in the midst of suffering, doubt, and hardship.”

“The sisters at St. Gertrude have a legacy of contemplative awareness, pioneering tenacity, and monastic rootedness where, together, we make a difference in the world. I see this time as a grace-filled opportunity for the community for us to deepen our Benedictine charism and the unfolding of our vision and mission. I trust that the support and prayers of our employees, oblates, and partners in ministry will carry us forward.”