Margaret (Roderick) Van Kempen, OSB

Sister Margaret (Roderick) Van Kempen, OSB
St. Joseph
February 13, 1931 – March 25, 2012

The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 4 p.m. on Thursday, March 29, 2012, at the Sacred Heart Chapel, Saint Benedict’s Monastery, St. Joseph, for S. Margaret (Roderick) Van Kempen, who died on March 25, 2012, at the St. Cloud Hospital. Burial will be in the monastery cemetery. Friends may call at Saint Scholastica Convent on Wednesday, March 28, at 1-6 p.m. or for a Vigil Prayer Service at 7 p.m. at Saint Benedict’s Monastery. Visitation continues at 9 a.m. on Thursday, March 29, until the time of the funeral at 4 p.m.

S. Margaret was born on February 13, 1931, to Hubert and Ida (Peerboom) Van Kempen in Morris, Minn. There she attended St. Mary’s Grade School and Public High School. After graduating from the College of Saint Benedict with a BA degree in biology, she entered Saint Benedict’s Monastery on August 31, 1952. When entering the novitiate on June 17, 1953, she was given the name of S. Roderick; this was changed to S. Margaret in 1968. Her first monastic profession was on July 11, 1954, her final profession on July 11, 1958. 

In further preparation for a ministry in education, S. Margaret attended St. Thomas University, St. Paul, Minn.; St. Cloud State University; Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., and the University of California, Calif. Science education at the University of North Dakota led to an MST degree. She also received an MA degree in geology from the University of Minnesota. 

S. Margaret’s ministry began with teaching science at Cathedral High School, St. Cloud; she became the science curriculum coordinator of earth science and science consultant for the St. Cloud Diocese. At the College of Saint Benedict, she taught science methods in the Education Department and was assistant professor of geology. 

In June 1997, S. Margaret retired from teaching and devoted herself to the visual arts:  photography, painting, card making, weaving and marbling. She constantly pursued learning in these arts, seeking out artists and working under their direction in varied areas of expertise and attending workshops. Her artistic creations, especially those related to fabric, have been on exhibition in a number of galleries. 

S. Margaret is survived by the Sisters in her Benedictine community; her brother Ralph (Alexandria, Minn.); two sisters: Helen Simon (Bemidji, Minn.) and Theresa Larson (Idaho Falls, Idaho); as well as many nieces and nephews. Eight brothers (Theodore, John, Robert, Stephen, Raymond, James, and two who died as children) and two sisters (Mary Nelson and Dorothy Aardapple) are deceased.      

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