Mother Rosamond Pratschner
M. Rosamond; undated (click thumbnail for large image)
Mother Rosamond Pratschner was born near Fingal, North Dakota, in 1885. She entered St. Benedict's Convent in St. Joseph in 1904, pronounced her first vows in 1906, and her perpetual vows in 1909. She taught in elementary and high schools in her younger years and later served the community as subprioress (1919-1921) and as private secretary to the prioress (1929-1937). In 1937 she was elected Prioress and held this position for two consecutive terms (1937-1949).
Always a woman of vision and deep faith, Mother Rosamond led her community during a period of trial and growth. With unusual business acumen as well as courage and stamina, she stabilized the community's financial status during the burdensome post-depression years, seeking and using the help of competent lay advisors. She was a dedicated educator, encouraging her sisters to maintain high standards in their professional work, whether teaching, nursing or homemaking. In her worldwide concern for the Church she responded to the request for health care in Ogden, Utah, and was instrumental in establishing dependent houses in Formosa (now Taiwan) and Puerto Rico. She forwarded the cause of community reorganization in establishing independent priories in Bismarck, North Dakota; St. Paul, Minnesota; and Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
In 1932, with the assistance and leadership of S. Claire Lynch as dean of the college, Mother Rosamond led the College through the process of accreditation and membership with the North Central Association. Once CSB was accepted into the association, the College was able to develop its academic focus and philosophy as a Catholic and Benedictine liberal arts institution.
During the turbulence of World War II, the College of Saint Benedict assisted in the war effort from the home front. The College was allowed to found its own Red Cross unit-one of the first college units to be set-up in Minnesota. The yield of this surgical dressing unit doubled that of any other unit across the nation. Professors, students, and sisters donated blood every time the blood donor unit came to St. Cloud. Some of the sisters as well as students attended first-aid classes; others helped sell war bonds and stamps.
During World War II, Mother Rosamond kept the College running as normally as possible. She and the faculty agreed against shortening the academic year and making up time during long summer sessions like other colleges were doing. Many students needed opportunities to work in the summer and earn money to defray college expenses. Colleges in larger cities could shorten their academic years and offer longer summer terms because students could get year-round part-time jobs; however, the small town of St. Joseph did not offer many year-round part-time jobs. In addition, Mother Rosamond and the faculty agreed to maintain its academic philosophy and Benedictine cultural program of the sciences, literature, and the arts in order to prime students to earn a salary and give students a well-rounded education of the vibrancy and magnificence of life.
Mother Rosamond died in the convent infirmary on April 12, 1969 at the age of eighty-four and in the sixty-fifth year of her religious profession.
For more on M. Rosamond:
- Mother Rosamond Pratschner 1937-1949, "Our Prioresses", Saint Benedict's Monastery
- With Lamps Burning by S. Grace McDonald, pages 172-176, 193, 196, 219-223, 282-283.
Special thanks to Megan Girgen '13 and Meghan Flannery '15 for drafting this text.