Sister Mary Catherine Shambour, OSB, 89

Sister Mary Catherine Shambour, beloved teacher, board member, historian, writer, and peacemaker, passed peacefully on May 30 at St. Scholastica Monastery from Lymphoma.   Having marked the milestones of 25, 50 and 60 years of religious life, Sister Mary Catherine was in the 67th year of vowed commitment. An alumna of The College of St. Scholastica, Sister served many years on the Board of Trustees.

Born to Joseph Shambour and Anna (Maruska) in 1930, Sister Mary Catherine grew up on a farm South of New Prague.  She attended country school, then St. Wenceslaus Catholic School and graduated from New Prague High School in 1947.  In those 12 years of school, she did not miss one day!    In 1951 she completed a bachelor’s degree in English at St. Scholastica in Duluth, entering the Benedictine community following graduation.

Sister began teaching at Stanbrook Hall and later in Cloquet, Minnesota. This was followed by nine years at Duluth’s Cathedral Senior High School and nineteen years at Cathedral High School. She earned a master’s degree in Education from UMD in 1962.

Sister Mary Catherine’s love of Russian led to an M.A.T. degree in Slavic Languages from Indiana University in 1976.  She would undertake further study at Moscow State University, Herzen Institute in St. Petersburg, Boston University, and University of Iowa.   Sister would serve for many years as liaison and peacemaker through research, writing, and lecturing. Her teaching ministry continued in Minnesota where she taught Russian for nineteen years, primarily at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul.   She would make eighteen trips to Russia over a thirty-year period.

Sister Mary Catherine returned to Duluth, serving as Vocation Director from 2006 until 2015. More recently, she explored the intersections of God, humanity, and nature, facilitating book discussions on the writings of Pope Francis, Richard Rohr, and Ilia Delio through the Center for Spirituality & Enrichment.

Preceded in death by parents and sister-in-law, Mary Ann Shambour, Sister is survived by her community; brother, George Shambour; nieces, Patrice (Wayne) Schanus and Kathy (Steve) Blonigan; nephews, Roger (Jeannie) and Michael (Judy); and many close friends, cousins,  and grand-nieces and -nephews about whom she would often inquire and in whose lives she was genuinely interested. Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at Our Lady of Peace Chapel, St. Scholastica Monastery in Duluth on June 3.  She was laid to rest at Gethsemane Cemetery, on the grounds of the Monastery.  A memorial service will take place at St. Scholastica at a  later date.

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