Home » Blog » A look into the life and ministry of Sister Conrad Monrad

A look into the life and ministry of Sister Conrad Monrad

Sister Conrad Monrad during her tenure as assistant principal at Marywood High School.

Recently, Chuck E. Ledbetter Sr., a resident of Charlestown, Indiana, contacted the Archives Department hoping to see a Throwback Thursday blog on Sister Conrad Monrad.

In his letter to Archives, Mr. Ledbetter stated, “Sister Conrad was my sixth grade teacher at Holy Trinity and I would love to know what and where her ministries led her after leaving Holy Trinity in New Albany, Indiana.

“She was a wonderful and gracious teacher to our class and had a beautiful smile whenever she would speak to you, even during class while she was instructing us in our subjects,” he continued.

Mr. Ledbetter, your wish is our desire.

Sister Conrad was born Gertrude Louise Monrad on Aug. 22, 1920, in Chicago, to Rasmus Christian Monrad and Lorena Bauman Monrad.

She entered the Congregation on July 22, 1938.

Sister Conrad received a bachelor’s degree in Latin from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and a master’s degree in mathematics from Marquette University.

She ministered in education for 52 years, at all levels, in schools located in Indiana, Illinois, California and Pennsylvania.

Sister Conrad was a faculty member at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC) for 27 years. According to her obituary information, she coordinated a local math contest for high school girls early during her tenure at SMWC. The Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology soon asked to co-sponsor the event and did so for many years.

Sister Conrad Monrad at Lake Louise, located in Alberta, Canada.

She also taught at Edinboro University, located in Pennsylvania, from 1970-71, and was assistant principal at Marywood High School, located in California, from 1974-77.

In her commentary for Sister Conrad, Sister Margaret Quinlan said, “Practically everyone I have spoken with the past few days about her has said the same thing: Conrad was peaceful, kind, gentle and gracious, an easy person to be with.”

Sister Margaret continued, “She was always calm, peaceful, looking at us straight in the eye, with her beautiful smile.”

Sister Conrad retired from the college in 1999, but continued to minister there as an adjunct faculty member through the External Degree Program.

In 2006, she returned to the Motherhouse and devoted herself to the ministry of prayer.

Sister Conrad died on June 28, 2013. She was 92 years old and had been a Sister of Providence for 74 years.

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Jason Moon

Jason Moon

Jason Moon serves as media relations manager for the Sisters of Providence. Previously, he spent more than 16 years in the newspaper industry.

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  1. Avatar Chuck E. Ledbetter, Sr. on October 26, 2017 at 10:15 am

    Mr. Moon,
    Thanks for taking the time in sharing the story of one of my most admiring teachers, Sister Conrad Monrad.
    Just seeing Sister Conrad’s photograph brought back fond memories of her gracious demeanor. At that time, of course, she was dressed in her religious habit with the long rosary beads hanging down at her side. She seemed always to be praying one bead at a time whether in the classroom or on the playground at recess.
    Sister Conrad was the lifting part of my life in those younger days growing up in New Albany. Sisters Eileen Marie and Patrick were the other two Sisters of Providence that helped to mold my life before my family moved to Charlestown in the spring of 1956. I have never forgotten them. They are always included in my daily prayers as well.
    Again, thanks so much for sending me the post of her story and ministry. I truly appreciated it.
    Chuck, Sr.

    • Jason Moon Jason Moon on October 26, 2017 at 10:30 am

      You are quite welcome!

  2. Avatar Deborah Kuhl on October 26, 2017 at 10:44 am

    My math teacher at SMWC – the most patient woman in the world! Sister Conrad Monrad was indeed gentle and caring – made my days at the Woods wonderful (1968-72).

  3. Avatar Carol Nolan Nolan, SP on October 26, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    Sister Conrad was one of the first teachers at Guerin High School in River Grove, Illinois. She may have been one of original group. I was the music teacher, and lived with her at Guerin for three years. She was indeed gracious and calm! Her parents were both killed in an auto accident before she came to Guerin. I always mourned them in my heart with her. A wonderful person!

  4. Avatar Carolyn Kessler, SP on October 26, 2017 at 9:31 pm

    I first really came to know S. Conrad when she was teaching just outside of Erie, Pennsylvania, my home town. She was there when S. Mary Ellen Quinn and I finished doctoral programs. On a June weekend in 1971 I graduated from Georgetown University Sunday evening and Mary Ellen Monday morning from the University of Pennsylvania. We took a quick Sunday night train ride from DC to Philadelphia to be present for both ceremonies. S. Conrad drove down from northwestern Pennsylvania to the southeast to help us celebrate. We had a delightful get together, including a memorable tour of the Amish country around Lancaster. The three of us drove back to Erie where I served as guide. We stayed at Conrad’s
    apartment in Edinboro where S.Maureen Loonan joined us to drive to Niagara Falls, Canada – one of my favorite trips growing up. I can still hear the roar of the falls but the fog was too thick that day to actually see them. Regardless, we had a great day enjoying the beauties of nature and the joys that come with SP reunions.

    Many years later in 2002-03, S. Conrad and I reunited in Florida where she was retired and living with S.Luke on Siesta Key, a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico. I had moved from Texas to nearby Anna Maria island after S. Mary Ellen died in 2002. I always enjoyed her presence at community meetings and various celebrations. It was also with great fondness we reminisced about our time in Pennsylvania.

  5. Avatar Jeanie Heller on November 6, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    I graduated from the Woods as a math major in 1970…..and Sister Conrad was head of the math department and I had several classes from her. She was my advisor….she found me frustrating because I didn’t want to teach math and I didn’t like science. She suggested that I take business classes in my junior year and I loved it…..and I then went on for my MBA after I graduated. I have loved all my years in the investment business and continue to practice in this area. I always knew that if it hadn’t been for having Sister Conrad as my advisor, I may have never gone in this direction. She cared so much that I took the right path…..and I always understood that.

    But it really wasn’t until about 20 years later when I understood that her caring was so personal…..such friendship. I would see her periodically prior to that, but when I became a member of the SMWC Board of Trustees in 1989, I began to see her much more often because I got to the Woods more often and we grew very close. She was teaching in the WED program. From that point on I always made sure to do special things for her and we had so much fun just talking. And I soon learned about her parents dying in the auto crash when she was a teenager. I will be forever grateful to her. And I was so happy that I could give back to her as she gave to me. I think her of often – how grateful I am to her for guiding me and being such a special person in my life.

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