Sister Meg Still Serving from the Sun Porch
“Monastic life has taught me how to pray,” says Sister Meg Sass, O.S.B., a Sister at the Monastery of St. Gertrude in Cottonwood, Idaho. “I want a relationship with God and I really believe doing it with a group of people whose emphasis is on prayer is the best way to do that.”
Sister Meg began her journey with the St. Gertrude’s community more than 50 years ago. After entering, she completed her junior and senior year of high school and started college as a novice. Then she finished her bachelor’s degree at Gonzaga University and University of Idaho. In 1962, she made her First Monastic Profession. She taught school for 13 years before heading to Chicago’s Loyola University for a Master in Pastoral Studies.
Back in Idaho, Sister Meg found herself working with an ecumenical team of ministers called Interlink in Lewiston that were focused on improving care of the elderly. Soon she became the head of Parish Social Ministry for the Diocese of Spokane. She helped found an outreach services center called Our Place in 1987 that is still serving the community to this day. She also founded or co-founded ecumenical outreach centers in Medical Lake, Spokane Valley, Cheney (Caritas), Emmanual Presbyterian (Omega), and St. Joseph’s (near Mead High School).
From 2006 until 2014, Sister Meg served at the Boise diocesan center as Regional Coordinator for Parish Life and Faith Formation, working with the northern part of the state from Riggins to Canada. In 2014, she moved home to the Monastery where she is taking an active role in liturgy, especially in playing the organ for Mass and prayer. She is also a spiritual director and sees directees both at St. Gertrude’s and in Boise.
She chooses to live on the assisted living floor so she can receive support with health matters and also live in companionship with other Sisters there. They spend time each day in a room known as the “sun porch” that just received new, efficient windows thanks to a $25,000 SOAR! grant. There the Sisters sing together, check email, read, nap, and more in the sunny warmth made possible by the new windows.
Sister Meg has pondered how a monastic community in rural Idaho can change the world. “There are so many problems in the world we can’t even imagine,” she says. “Many people don’t even have a cup of water. The Monastery says maybe we can’t fix these problems, but can keep our commitments to prayer and we can pray. We can tap into the power of God for whom nothing is impossible.”