Sister Gertrude Geigle (Ambrose)
As a little girl living in Kaukauna, Wisconsin, Gertrude Geigle had one goal for her life: to become holy. She didn’t fully understand the implications of this goal, but she clearly recognized the presence of holiness when she saw it. Her teacher, S. Marie Louise Hegeman, was holy. S. Marie Louise was a caring teacher, a dedicated sister, and a person who showed her love for God in the kind and respectful ways she dealt with other people. Gertrude admired her.
Gertrude decided to enter the Racine Dominicans, and at her reception was given the name Sister Ambrose. In her 70+ years as a sister, “God’s hand was visible many times, and Mary was there, too.” She has a deep devotion to the Blessed Mother, and she found divine guidance and support in her various ministries as a teacher, principal, religious education director and pastoral associate.
Especially meaningful in her ministry as a teacher were the affirmations she received from parents, as well as the relationships she continued with students long after they left her classroom. A great challenge that resulted in many joyful years was when she was assigned to be a teaching principal at Nativity School in Detroit after having taught in smaller communities. “I didn’t want to go, but it was a wonderful experience!”
S. Gert would like people to know that sisters have many opportunities to “help change the greed and selfishness in the world by living a dedicated Gospel-valued life.” Though at one time most sisters served as teachers and school principles, “now we are open to various ministries, hopefully making a difference wherever we’re needed.”
Continuing to pursue the goal of holiness, S. Gert lives her life today according to her “Four S’s: Service, Silence, Solitude and Simplicity in everything she does.
In celebration of S. Gertrude (Ambrose) Geigle's 75th Jubilee (2013), she answered the following questions:
What first drew you to the Racine Dominican community?
I considered religious life after a special experience with God in prayer and entered the community because of the dedicated lives of the sisters I had in school.
What kept you in the community all these years?
My life through these many years has often been unchartered. There have been a lot of risks and pain. However, we gather to encourage one another on our way to holiness; to challenge each other as to what this way is; and to express our gratitude to those who journey and have journeyed with us for their faithfulness to the ministry which challenges us. We are grateful to the Holy Spirit for calling us to be who we are.
What was one particularly cherished memory of your years in ministry?
I have many cherished memories – among them much affirmation from both parents and students. I have many continued relationships with those who have caught up with me along the way, and I am grateful that they are involved in various church ministries today.
What is one thing you want people to know about the Racine Dominicans?
Sisters today have many opportunities to help change the greed and selfishness in the “world” by living a dedicated Gospel-valued life. We are open to various ministries, making a difference where needed … and so we continue to grow and celebrate life.
What do you enjoy doing at this time of your life?
For a number of years, I have tried to live by three “Ss” – Silence, Solitude and Simplicity. The fourth “S” has been specifically added: SERVICE in many forms. Artistically, sewing and repairing items for sisters and making baby quilts for unwed mothers and hospitals.
I also have more time for Silence and