In Memoriam: Sister Carm Ternes, OSB

Carm TernesJuly 16, 1920 — December 10, 2016

“When you place your dedication to God above all other things, then graces and blessings are often a reward.”

Sister Carm Ternes, OSB was born into eternal life on December 10, 2016. She died peacefully in her monastery home. Sister Carm will be remembered for her service in education and ministry, and many artistic gifts.

Born on July 16, 1920, and raised in Strasburg, North Dakota, Sister Carm (baptized Elizabeth) attended a school staffed by Ursulines who suggested she had a vocation to religious life. After seeing a postcard featuring St. Gertrude’s in Idaho, she became determined to join the community.

Sister Carm’s father, however, refused to take her to Idaho as it was too far away. So, Sister Carm, exhibiting her typical creativity (and just a little disobedience), started a novena to St. Therese of the Little Flower. She asked the saint to persuade her father to let her go to Idaho, and, after the third novena, a miracle happened: some Idaho friends of her parents came to visit and soon she had her way out west. “The decision to come to Idaho was for life,” she said.

Professed in 1942, Sister Carm immediately began a teaching career that spanned nearly three decades. She earned a BA in Education and a MA in Speech and Drama.

In addition to teaching in schools across the state, she taught at St. Gertrude’s Academy and was often assigned as prefect of the boarder students – both boys and girls.

Sister Carm also served as religious education coordinator, pastoral assistant, hospital chaplain and community archivist. She was extremely creative and one of her many influential projects includes the mosaic mural in the Monastery dining room that she completed with the help of students.

“When you place your dedication to God above all other things, then graces and blessings are often a reward,” she said. “I love community! Everyone needs a support group to belong to, to love and be loved by – community is the best thing about being a sister at St. Gertrude’s.”

Sister Carm is survived by numerous nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews, cousins, and friends — and her Benedictine sisters. Her younger blood sister, Sister Bernie Ternes, OSB, preceded her in death. The  Mass of Christian Burial was on Tuesday, December 20. Memorial gifts in Sister Carm’s honor can be made to the Monastery of St. Gertrude, 465 Keuterville Road, Cottonwood, Idaho, 83522 or online.