Cover photo for Sister Cornelia Gust's Obituary
Sister Cornelia Gust Profile Photo
1924 Sister 2016

Sister Cornelia Gust

June 27, 1924 — April 26, 2016

Sister Cornelia Gust, 91, died at Villa Saint Vincent, Crookston, MN, Tuesday, April 26, 2016. Sister Cornelia (Margaret) Gust was born June 27, 1924 on her grandfather's farm near Tabor, MN. She was the oldest of the eight children of George and Julia Gust: Joseph, Sister Mary Jean, Betty Ann, Gerard, Robert, Timothy and Philip. She and her siblings enjoyed their childhood on their parents' farm. They all graduated from Sacred Heart High School in East Grand Forks and went on to higher education. After graduating from high school Margaret enrolled in the Normal Training Class in Central High School, East Grand Forks. After that, she taught in schools in rural Polk County. Margaret and Mary Jean both entered Mount Saint Benedict in June, 1946. Since Margaret had taught before she entered she was given the task of substituting in schools for sisters who became ill. When Margaret became a novice and was invested in the Benedictine habit she received the name Sister Cornelia. Mary Jean became known as Sister Ameliana. Sister Cornelia and Sister Mary Jean made final monastic profession on July 11, 1951. Sister Cornelia was asked to teach at the Cathedral School where she taught third and sixth grades. She was appointed the prefect of freshmen and sophomore girls at Mount Saint Benedict Academy and was like a "housemother" to them. Her next assignment was to Lefor, ND. Because the sisters were teaching in a public school, they had to wear secular clothing. Their living arrangements were also interesting. They lived in the belfry of the church with each sister having one level in the belfry as her bedroom. After teaching in Barnesville, MN she finished a Bachelor of Arts degree from Clarke College in Dubuque, IA. Her next assignment was as assistant principal at Mount Saint Benedict Academy. This was followed by seven years of working with young sisters in temporary profession. While Sister Cornelia was teaching at Sacred Heart High School she had a ministry to the elderly at a local nursing home. On December 31, 1976, the Sisters of Saint Benedict elected Sister Cornelia as their sixth prioress, and in 1981, they re-elected her to a second term. During Sister Cornelia's time as prioress, the Benedictine world celebrated 1500 years since the birth of Saint Benedict of Norcia, founder of the Benedictine Order. The Sisters of Saint Benedict celebrated this anniversary with a "Life Chapter" during which they reaffirmed their commitment to Benedictine values. Sister Cornelia served on the Juridic Committee of the Federation of Saint Gertrude, an organization of Benedictine communities who offer support to each other. This committee was responsible for developing the revised constitutions of the Federation which had to be approved by the Apostolic See in Rome. During Sister Cornelia's term, some very difficult decisions were made by the sisters. Since the beginning of the community, the Benedictine Sisters were involved in teaching and healing ministries, so it was difficult to close some hospitals and especially Mount Saint Benedict Academy. After completing her term as prioress, Sister Cornelia took a sabbatical at Holy Names College in Oakland, CA. Following her sabbatical, she accepted a position at the retreat center at Our Lady of Grace Monastery in Beech Grove, IN, which included coordination of the lay ministry program, spiritual direction and retreat work. After four years, she returned to Mount Saint Benedict where she worked in the Mount Center, giving retreats and spiritual direction. Meanwhile Sister Cornelia was elected to the Council of the Federation of Saint Gertrude. This position often took her to other Benedictine communities throughout the country. Due to health issues Sister Cornelia entered the assisted living section of the monastery, Good Shepherd Hall. Eventually, she was admitted to Villa Saint Vincent, a skilled nursing facility. Sister Cornelia was preceded in death by her parents Julia and George Gust and by brothers Joseph, Robert and Gerard. She is survived by sisters Sister Mary Jean of Mount Saint Benedict and Betty Ann (Burnell) Skelton of LaMesa, CA and by brothers Timothy (Alice) of Los Angeles and Philip (Zeny) of San Diego, her Benedictine Sisters and many nieces and nephews. Reception of the body of Sister Cornelia will be on Monday, May 2 at 4:30, p.m. with a prayer service at 7:00 p.m. The funeral will be at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, May 3. All services will be at Mount Saint Benedict Monastery, 620 Summit Ave., Crookston, MN, phone 218-281-3441.

Funeral Home: Stenshoel-Houske Funeral & Cremation Service 615 South Minnesota Street Crookston, MN US 56716

Previous Events

Visitation
Monday, May 2, 2016
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Mount St. Benedict

620 Summit Ave.
Crookston, MN 56716

Wake services beginning at 7 p.m.

Service
Tuesday, May 3, 2016
10:30 AM
Mount St. Benedict

620 Summit Ave.
Crookston, MN 56716

cemetery
Tuesday, May 3, 2016
Mount St. Benedict

Crookston, MN 56716

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