Meet Sister Marita Kolbeck

I am the seventh of eleven children born to Joseph and Clara Kolbeck on a farm near Salem, SD. My Catholic education at St. Mary’s School in Salem began in the sixth grade after previously boarding at the South Dakota School for the Deaf in Sioux Falls. I remember it was my first encounter with nuns and I was awestruck by the black habits the Bernadine Sisters wore, as they were my teachers at that time. After graduation from St. Mary’s High School in 1952, I attended Mount Marty College in Yankton and then entered Sacred Heart Monastery on August 20, 1953. I feel it was my parent’s faith, devotion to Catholic principles, and our close family ties that drew me to religious life. Praying the family rosary was a daily occurrence in our home for many years and church attendance was a given. My Benedictine teachers at Mount Marty College were a great influence on my decision also.

For me, life as a Benedictine Sister provided many avenues of learning as I continued to experience more and more a love of the Scriptures and the Eucharist, praying the psalms, and living in community with my Sisters. In my years of ministry, I was able to share my sign language skills in teaching to deaf students and adults at schools in Milwaukee, Faribault, MN and Sioux Falls, SD, where I also ministered in the special needs religious education program for the Catholic diocese. In 1999 I began serving as mission assistant in pastoral care at St. Anthony’s Hospital in O’Neill, NE. I moved home to Sacred Heart Monastery in June, 2009, and am happy to be editing the monastery’s Employee Newsletter and assisting in the Gift Shop and the Peace Center.

Looking back on sixty plus years of monastic living, I feel I have grown so much and had the benefit of many educational opportunities and travels. I treasure the time spent touring, the Holy Land in 1992, and the Rome Monastic Renewal in 1998. So many wonderful people have touched my life and for all that I can only render praise and thanks to God — the giver of all that is good and true.



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