Nivard (Mary Ann) Neft, OSB

Sister Nivard (Mary Ann) Neft, OSB (89)

St. Joseph

April 1, 1922—August 7, 2011

The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, August 11, 2011, at Sacred Heart Chapel, Saint Benedict’s Monastery, St. Joseph, for Sister Nivard Neft, who died on August 7 at Saint Scholastica Convent. Burial will be in the monastery cemetery. Friends may call at Saint Scholastica Convent on Wednesday, August 10, from 1-6 p.m. or for a Prayer Vigil at 7 p.m. at Saint Benedict’s Monastery. Visitation continues at 9 a.m. until the funeral on Thursday, August 11, at 10:30 a.m.

S. Nivard was born April 1, 1922, to Joseph and Opal (Young) Neft in Shooks, Minn. She graduated from elementary school in Shooks and attended Kelliher High School, Kelliher, Minn. On August 19, 1940, she came to Saint Benedict’s Monastery. She graduated from Saint Benedict’s High School in 1941; entered the novitiate June 22, 1943; made first monastic profession July 11, 1944; and perpetual monastic profession on July 11, 1947. Her golden jubilee in 1997 and 60th anniversary in 2007 were happy occasions.

S. Nivard graduated from the College of Saint Benedict with a bachelor’s degree in home economics. In 1952, she was certified as a medical technician at St. Cloud Hospital. She studied chemistry at Weber State University, Ogden, Utah; in 1971 she was awarded a PhD degree in chemistry from Utah State University in Logan, Utah. S. Nivard also studied biochemistry at the University of Minnesota.

Although her primary teaching ministry was at the college level, S. Nivard began by teaching home economics at White Earth, Minn., and general science at Cathedral High School in St. Cloud. She served as a lab technician at St. Cloud Hospital and at Clinica Font Martelo in Humacao, Puerto Rico. From 1959 through 1977, S. Nivard pursued her science career in Utah. She began as head medical technician and medical technology instructor at St. Benedict’s Hospital in Ogden, where she was later a research director. After receiving her PhD in chemistry, she held an associate professorship in the School of Allied Health at Weber State University.

In 1977, she returned to Minnesota and taught chemistry at the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University. In 1985, she was selected as a National Institute of Health Extramural Associate, where she learned to write research grants. After an active teaching career, S. Nivard served as community life coordinator at St. Raphael’s Convent in St. Cloud and in the business office at Saint Benedict’s Monastery. She retired to Saint Scholastica Convent in 1999.

S. Nivard is survived by her Benedictine community and five sisters (Margaret Erickson, Leona Mayer, Rosemary Smischney, Mildred Olson and Evelyn Leach). Her only brother (Leonard), and four sisters (Josephine Thum, Helen Hufnagle, Alma Collins and Agnes Gitzen) are deceased.

Please direct memorial gifts to Saint Benedict’s Monastery for the care of elderly Sisters.