Sister Madonna Wagendorf, 94, a member of Annunciation Monastery, Bismarck, entered eternal life Monday, December 13, 2021, at St. Vincent’s Care Center. Visitation at the monastery will be Wednesday, December 15 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. with a vigil service at 7 p.m. in the Chapel of Annunciation Monastery. The Mass of Christian Burial is Thursday, December 16 at 3:00 p.m. in the Chapel of Annunciation Monastery with visitation from 9 a.m. until the time of the service. Attendees are requested to wear masks. The funeral will be livestreamed at www.eastgatefuneral.com .
Sister Madonna was born June 7, 1927, in Mott, ND, the youngest of the five children of Frank and Frances (Rademacher) Wagendorf. Her interest in Mott and Mott connections was life-long. Sister Madonna entered the community of the Benedictine Sisters and was enrolled at the St. Alexius School of Nursing, Bismarck, ND. Since Annunciation Convent was not yet officially established, she completed her novitiate at St. Benedict’s, St. Joseph, MN, but made monastic profession in Bismarck. Sister Madonna celebrated her 74th anniversary of monastic profession this year.
With a degree in nurse anesthesiology from St. John’s Hospital, Springfield, Illinois, Sister Madonna worked as a nurse anesthetist at St. Alexius, Riverdale, Garrison and Richardton hospitals. Her longest term of service was at Garrison Memorial Hospital which she was instrumental in starting as one of only two nurses. As a healthcare “pioneer,” she became a mainstay at Garrison in roles which included director of nurses, nurse anesthetist, administrator, spiritual care giver, and medical records keeper. As administrator for 21 of her 35 years there, Sister Madonna oversaw major renovations at the hospital. Active in community and professional affairs, her board service included Annunciation Monastery, the University of Mary, St. Alexius Medical Center, and the ND State Board of Examiners for Nursing Home Administrators. Sister Madonna served as president of the North Dakota Hospital Association in 1983 and was named Garrison’s Citizen of the Year in 1993. Her service at Annunciation Monastery was as administrative assistant, director of the health care center, and volunteer in various capacities. Fond of nature and wildlife, along with classical music and reading, Sister Madonna’s hobbies of gardening, birdwatching and fishing often took her outdoors which included many hours on Lake Sakakawea. Her identification of birds and their songs was a joy. Sister Madonna’s hospitality, along with the others there, made Garrison a destination for relaxation and vacation time for the sisters for many years.
Sister Madonna is survived by her nieces and nephews and the Sisters of Annunciation Monastery. She was preceded in death by her parents, her sisters Leola Maercklein, Irene Bakke, Adeline Steiger, and brother Lloyd. Memorials may be made to Annunciation Monastery. To share memories of Sister Madonna, visit www.eastgatefuneral.com and sign the online guest book.