Sister Gabrielle Kocour
I was born and raised with 5 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 was instilled in us at an early age, as all of us attended St Benedict’s Church, 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 will try being a Benedictine nun. My mother thought I had lost my marbles 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 sped along through 15 years of teaching elementary school in rural and suburban Catholic schools using French my 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 the rich and the poor, the black and the white and all between was a powerful educational experience for me.
Before I knew where the time went, 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 Atchison area and beyond. Much has been received, much I try to give.