“Hope is an attitude of the heart which tells me God is present in our world,” says Monsignor Andrew (Andy) Schumacher. “We must give hope to one another.” The Benedictine sisters and Msgr. Andy have been in a relationship of sharing hope since he was a boy.
He was taught by the sisters and the Schumacher family would visit the convent on Sundays. His niece later joined the community — Sister Betty Schumacher. During his education, there were two sisters who were of special influence, Sister Augustine, his principal in high school, and Sister Gonzaga who was his Latin teacher. “Sister Gonzaga really influenced my vocation as a priest,” he says.
Msgr. Andy was ordained in Rome on December 20, 1959. While there, he witnessed the election and coronation of Pope John XXIII, and the calling of the Second Vatican Council. He had a private audience with Pope John XXIII and met Padre Pio, both now canonized saints.
Msgr. Andy returned to the U.S. in 1960. He served at parishes throughout Idaho and was the first full-time chaplain at the University of Idaho. He also served as the rector of St. John’s Cathedral in Boise. Sisters Cecile Marie Uhlorn, Angela Uhlorn, and Carol Ann Wassmuth worked with him as pastoral associates. Despite retiring in 2004, he is still active in ministry. He maintains contact with fellow priests in a support group, Jesu Caritas. The group meets at homes or parishes, including the Monastery of St. Gertrude, for prayer, scripture, and fellowship. It also provides an opportunity to keep in touch with the Monastery of St. Gertrude, which he supports as a donor.
“In more recent years the mission and lifestyle of the sisters of St. Gertrude has changed from a teaching mission to following more closely the Rule of St. Benedict, ‘Ora et Labora’ (Pray and Work). They are dedicated to prayer and working to build the Kingdom of God from here on the Camas Prairie. With their work for the protection of our environment, their promotion of human rights, and their concern for the poor, they are dedicating their lives to building a Kingdom of Justice, Peace, Love, and Mercy.”