Sister Gabrielle Kocour
I was born and raised with 4 siblings, 2 sisters and 2 brothers, in Atchison, Ks. My parents, Irish and Czech, also lived and worked here all their lives. Love of family and Catholic faith, education and hard work were instilled in us at an early age as all of us attended St Benedict’s Church and grade school and either Mount St. Scholastica Academy or Maur Hill Prep.
Then I had to decide as Mary Oliver put it “What will you do with your one, wild and precious life?” Eventually, I decided I would try being a Benedictine nun. My mother thought I had lost my mind but was thrilled because she was a Benedictine Oblate. I thought, “Well, I’ll try it for 2 weeks.” She later told me she thought they would send me home sooner since my behavior was not exemplary. However, I stayed for years, 2 weeks at a time, until one day, the Holy Spirit inspired me to “get in or get out.” So, I stayed “in.” What a gift that has been, and time has sped along through 15 years of teaching elementary school in rural and suburban Catholic schools, using my French major for the last 7 years and then moving into adult education and formation and eventually into justice, peace and social ministry. I worked for Catholic Charities in Kansas City, Ks, and in Tulsa, Ok. Serving rich and poor, black and white and all between was a powerful educational experience for me.
Before I knew where the time had gone, I had spent 50 years in ministry, and I had encountered hundreds of people who enriched my life deeply. In my retiring years, I live at Mount St. Scholastica in Atchison, Ks. I spent several years drawing on my Benedictine formation roots as I helped with retreats at Sophia Spirituality Center on our campus. I am also actively involved with people struggling with poverty and serve on some boards in the Atchison area. Now I am facilitating weekly spirituality sessions for a lively group of women from the Atchison area and beyond. Much has been received; much I try to give.