Madonna (Goretti) Kuebelbeck, OSB

S. Madonna (Goretti) Kuebelbeck

When young, Sister Madonna Kuebelbeck was a figure skater and “a pretty good one”, she would admit. At age nine, she already knew that she wanted to be a nurse and began achieving that goal when she came to St. Cloud Hospital’s School of Nursing. Along the way, she joined Saint Benedict’s Monastery, picked up a couple of degrees in nursing and skated her way into being an initiator, innovator and pioneer.

S. Madonna began nursing at St. Cloud Hospital as it and St. Cloud were growing. She saw needs and initiated solutions. The Intensive Care Unit for patients needing constant attention after surgery was her creation. This was followed by the formation of the Mental Health Unit. As its first clinical nurse specialist, she sensed the importance of specialization and innovatively created a separate unit for chemical dependency and another for adolescents.

S. Madonna was creative in many ways – sewing her own clothes, creating cards and decorations, cooking excellent meals. She was up to tasks as needed, including learning Portuguese for her next venture.

S. Madonna became a pioneer and fulfilled a dream to be a missionary when she went to Recife, Brazil, to test the waters for a new mission. She worked with Dom Helder Camara, Archbishop of Recife/Olinda to bring attention to the needs of patients with mental illness. One joy marking her Brazil experience, she would tell you, was having her niece adopt a preemie baby girl and bring tiny Sara Marie to the United States.

By S. Kerry O’Reilly