Congratulations 60 and 70-Year Jubilarians

Congratulations 60 and 70-Year Jubilarians

Congratulations to Sisters Renee Zastoupil, Susan Lardy and Denise Ressler on the 60th anniversary of their monastic profession and to Sister Madonna Wagendorf, who celebrates her 70th anniversary of monastic profession! These sisters will celebrate with the monastic community on July 11.

Sister Renee’s primary ministries were at St. Alexius Medical Center (now CHI St. Alexius Health) where she started the School of Radiology. She served as director of this school for 26 years and as hospital chaplain for 16 years. She ministered to those in need as a volunteer law enforcement chaplain for 10 years. She continues to be a Christ-like presence to others through her daily attention to the needs of the sisters who live at the St. Alexius convent and serves on several committees at Annunciation Monastery. Sister Renee says her ministries have been and continue to be, sustained by prayer, Eucharist and living the monastic life. She encourages other women to consider monastic life because, “I want others to experience the joy I’ve found in the Lord.”

Sister Susan taught in elementary schools in Bismarck and Mandan and later taught at the University of Mary. In service to her monastic community, Sister Susan served as subprioress of Annunciation Monastery, and was then elected prioress, a position she held for 12 years. Her leadership skills transferred well into a position she later accepted in Fargo as director of the University of Mary Fargo Center, an accelerated degree program. Sister Susan served as director of mission effectiveness at CHI St. Alexius Health and as the director of oblates of Annunciation Monastery. She is currently secretary of Annunciation Monastery. Sister Susan compares living as a sister in a monastic community to the commitment required in marriage. “As sisters, we must actively work to keep our relationships with God and members of the community healthy and vibrant, just as partners must recommit themselves in a marriage. I feel God’s presence in my prayer life, calling me to renew my relationship with God. I felt the call when I first became a sister and it continues day by day.”

Sister Denise taught elementary grades at St. Mary’s and Cathedral grade schools in Bismarck, St. Joseph School in Mandan and St. Joseph’s School in Dickinson. “Teaching nurtured my love of children,” she says. She also served as school librarian for 12 of her 17 years as a teacher. A consummate planner, Sister Denise served in the University of Mary alumni office where she coordinated special events, student and staff celebrations and reunions. Sister Denise currently serves as archivist at Annunciation Monastery. She also coordinates volunteers at the monastery and is the friendly face and voice at the monastery front desk/switchboard. “God continues to call women to this life, but it truly has to be a calling, a deep desire to seek God through the monastic life,” she said. “My energy comes from my prayer and community life.”

Sister Madonna recently celebrated her 90th birthday and now her 70th anniversary of monastic profession. She has been in the medical profession for all of her years as a sister, beginning at Riverdale Hospital in North Dakota, which was near the site of the construction of the Garrison Dam. To meet a growing need, she became a certified nurse anesthetist, serving at St. Alexius Medical Center (now CHI St. Alexius Health), Richardton Hospital, and was instrumental in starting Garrison Memorial Hospital in 1952. Sister Madonna was one of two nurses at the hospital. She was a mainstay at Garrison for 35 years, serving as nurse, director of nurses, nurse anesthetist and administrator. After retiring from Garrison Hospital in 1995, she became administrative assistant at Annunciation Monastery until she moved back to Garrison in 2002 and worked in spiritual care and medical records. Upon moving “home” to Annunciation Monastery, she assisted with the healthcare needs of the sisters. Currently, she can be found most often helping in the monastery kitchen.


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