Ruth Nierengarten, OSB

Sister Ruth Nierengarten 

St Joseph

November 20, 1925 – March 3, 2013

The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, March 8, 2013, at the Sacred Heart Chapel, Saint Benedict’s Monastery, St. Joseph, for Sister Ruth Nierengarten, age 87, who died on March 3, 2013, at Saint Scholastica Convent, St. Cloud, Minn. Burial will be in the monastery cemetery. Friends may call at Saint Scholastica Convent on Thursday, March 7, from 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. until the time of the funeral.

S. Ruth Nierengarten was born November 20, 1925, to Henry and Rose (Wimmer) Nierengarten in St. Cloud. She attended St. Anthony’s grade school in St. Cloud for two years, Winthrop Public School for grades three to seven, and Guardian Angels School in Chaska for grade eight. Her education continued at Chaska Public High School in Chaska, Minn. and then at the College of Saint Benedict, St. Joseph, Minn., where she earned a B.A. in social work with minors in art, philosophy, and history. She received an M.A. in sociology at St. Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri. She attended the Council/Learning Institute at Apple River, Ill., University of Iowa, Iowa City, and the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. 

Following graduation from the College of Saint Benedict in 1947, S. Ruth entered Saint Benedict’s Monastery. She was received into the novitiate in 1948 and made monastic profession in 1949.

S. Ruth was an educator, teaching elementary level at Cold Spring, Minn. and secondary level at Cathedral High School in St. Cloud for thirteen years. She then moved into education administration as dean of students at Saint Benedict’s High School, St. Joseph, Minn. In 1973, she became vocation director, followed by two years as novice director. S. Ruth then moved into personnel work at the monastery, firstly as personnel director assistant, then coordinator of the personnel board, and lastly as coordinator of the personnel staff for four years.

In 1984, S. Ruth was called to a new role as arts and aesthetics coordinator for Saint Benedict’s Monastery. She was a gifted artist, producing calligraphy works, and writing and sketching for Monastic Enterprises. Bishop John Kinney asked her to do a charcoal drawing of each of the bishops of St. Cloud Diocese, which she completed in 1997. In 2000, S. Ruth became director of the Haehn Museum and, in 2005, Haehn Museum exhibit specialist and consultant. She authored three books, was a founding member of the St. Joseph Historical Society and a member of the Regional Museum Society.  She retired to Saint Scholastica Convent in 2011.     

Sister Ruth is survived by her Benedictine community and her twin brother, Roger, nephews, nieces and cousins. She was preceded in death by her parents, brothers: Jerome, Richard, Robert and William, and sisters: Louise (Leonard) De Marais and Joan (Joseph) Salden.

Please direct memorial gifts to the Saint Scholastica Convent Building Project.