M. Louise Walz; left: undated; right: ca. 1919. (Click thumbnails for larger images)
Mother Louise Walz was born in Baden, Germany in 1864, and came to the United States with her parents when she was eight years old. She entered St. Benedict's Convent in 1884, and pronounced her first vows in 1887, and her perpetual vows in 1890.
Prior to her 1919 election as Prioress, she served the community as teacher, as assistant novice mistress, and as subprioress for seventeen years (1902 to 1919). During her three terms as prioress (1919-1937) she continued the brick and mortar expansion policy of her predecessor despite difficult economic times. St. Walburg's Hall was built as a dormitory and art needlework department; the Scholasticate was erected to accommodate the large number of candidates; and the St. Cloud Hospital was completed in 1928.
In order to establish more of a community between the older German sisters and younger American sisters, Mother Louise discontinued the use of German when reciting prayers in common and slowly fading out the use of German in various functions of the Convent. She also implemented many liturgical ceremonies to the Convent's yearly schedule.
It was also during her term that the community was called upon to carry the light of Christianity across the Pacific to the Far East. In response to this call a Chinese mission was accepted and in 1930 six sisters left to open a women's college at the Catholic University, Fu Jen in Peking.
Mother Louise died on January 22, 1944, at the age of eighty and in the sixtieth year of her religious profession.
For more on M. Louise:
Special thanks to Megan Girgen '13 and Meghan Flannery '15 for drafting this text.