Sister Gretchen Berg -- Rochester

December 2, 2018

Sister Gretchen Berg, 98, a Franciscan Sister of the Congregation of Our Lady of Lourdes, Rochester, died at Assisi Heights Nov. 27, 2018.

Elizabeth Annabel Berg was born May 24, 1920, in Excelsior, to Henry M. and Eleanor (Heutmaker) Berg. She entered the Sisters of St. Francis in 1938 from Sacred Heart Parish, Waseca. Sister Gretchen made first vows in 1941 and perpetual vows in 1944. She, like other members of her class in the community, started her ministry in Elementary Education. She taught at St. Joseph’s in Winona, her only elementary teaching experience. After four years, she returned to the College of St. Teresa in Winona to continue studies, receiving a B.A. Degree in 1947. The following year, she began studies at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., receiving an M.A. in 1949. She served as Registrar at the College of St. Teresa for five years and then returned to the Catholic University, where she received a Ph.D. in 1962.

Her other diverse ministries included Superior at Regina Mundi in Lima, Peru; Novice Mistress at Assisi Hall, Winona; and Director of the Pastoral Action Program at Assisi Heights. Sister Gretchen was elected President of the Sisters of St. Francis in 1970. After serving in that capacity for six years, she went to the Franciscan Institute at St. Bonaventure, N.Y., and then to a Prayer Community at Redwoods Monastery in Whitethorn, Calif. From 1978 to 1982, Sister Gretchen was an instructor of Spiritual Leadership at the Spiritual Life Institute in Chicago. From 1982 to 2004, Sister Gretchen served as a spiritual director, a leader of retreats and seminars and worked with various religious congregations. She moved to Assisi Heights in 2004.

Sister Gretchen is survived by her Franciscan Community with whom she shared life for 80 years, and nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents; four brothers, Richard, Donald, Henry and William Berg; and three sisters, Jeanette Kubat, Patricia Berg and Mary Ellen Berg.

An Evening Prayer Vigil with Sharing of Memories will be at 4 p.m. Monday, Dec. 3, in the Chapel of Our Lady of Lourdes at Assisi Heights. The Funeral Mass will be 11 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 4, in Lourdes Chapel. Visitation one hour prior. Burial will be at Calvary Cemetery, Rochester.

Memorials are suggested to the Sisters of St. Francis, Office of Mission Advancement, Assisi Heights, 1001 14th St. NW, Rochester, MN 55901.

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