“Still waters run deep” is an ancient Latin proverb which aptly describes Sister Ardella Kvamme. Her Scandinavian heritage is foundational to her quiet nature and wise ways. It also accounts for her strong loyalty in relationships and her altruistic nature.
Born in Pelican Rapids, Minn., to parents of Norwegian descent, S. Ardella’s family life revolved around the Lutheran Church and the land. She treasured working closely with her father on the farm, and they formed a close bond during quiet hours together outdoors. Closeness to family, a love of nature, and delight in creation came naturally.
Reading Scripture, prayer and music were a mainstay for the Kvamme family. Ardella sang and accompanied hymns for church services which nurtured her love for music. These experiences were a prelude to her initial years as a Benedictine sister serving as organist and director of parish choirs. Her first ministry teaching elementary school students included music classes.
As a student at Augsburg College in the 1950s, S. Ardella was drawn to Catholicism and began to consider a call to religious life. A visit to Saint Benedict’s Monastery with Sister Omer Kiffmeyer’s sister introduced her to the Liturgy of the Hours, Gregorian chant and a scriptural/liturgical way of living the Gospel—all at the heart of the Rule of Saint Benedict. In 1961, she entered the monastery, making perpetual monastic profession in 1966.
While music ministry marked her early years in community, eventually her business skills and human resources acumen were recognized and tapped. S. Ardella has spent 34 years assuming multiple responsibilities in the monastery’s business office. Her gifts for accuracy, knowledge of finances, and of the monastery’s corporate history are valued assets at community meetings.
Balancing work and leisure is important. S. Ardella enjoys reading, especially mysteries, listening to classical music, and watching football and basketball games at all levels. She continues to share her musical talents; her deeply resonant contralto voice enriches the monastery schola and is movingly experienced in her rendering of treasured hymns.
All her gifts are seasoned with an infectious, dry sense of humor often expressed in soft laughter and sparkling eyes. Her calm, quiet nature combined with gentle steadfastness reflect the Way of the Gospel and the wisdom of St. Benedict which she has lived for 60 years.
“Still waters run deep in her.”
Profile written by Michaela Hedican, OSB, and Katherine Kraft, OSB