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Sister Bernelle celebrates 60 years as nun

by Jane Lightbourn • Staff writer

Sister Bernelle Taube, SSND (School Sisters of Notre Dame), remembers a day when she was a freshman at Hastings High School. She got to thinking about what she would do with the rest of her life.

She made her choice then and has not looked back.

Last Sunday, Sept. 22, in a special celebration Mass and reception at St. Dominic’s Church in Northfield, she celebrated 60 years as a nun. St. John the Baptist Catholic School in Vermillion held a reception for her the following Wednesday. She taught and was principal at the school for 14 years beginning in 1979.

“I was sitting in class and Mr. (Lin) Hildebrandt asked us what we were going to choose for our life,” recalled Sister Bernelle.

As she was thinking, her thoughts turned to her elementary years at St. Mary’s School in New Trier. The classes were taught by nuns. They had significantly impacted her life.

The following year, when she was a sophomore, Sister Bernelle enrolled at Good Counsel Academy, an all-girls school, considered a prep school for young women considering becoming nuns.

After school, she entered the School Sisters of Notre postulancy and novitiate. She took her first vows July 19, 1953.

Sister Bernelle graduated from Mount Mary College in Milwaukee and earned additional college credits at St. Thomas, Mankato State College, Dayton (Ohio), and at Northern State University.

She taught primary grades at Hokah (near La Crosse, Wis.), Forest Lake, LaCrescent, Prior Lake, Vermillion, Forest Lake, St. John’s in Mankato, Belle Plaine, Red Wing and twice at St. Dominic’s in Northfield. She currently lives in Northfield.

Born in Farmington to Gertrude Tutewohl and Henry Taube, Sister Bernelle grew up on a farm. The entire family helped with its operation, including caring for the pigs, cows, horses, ducks, chickens and rabbits. Her mother’s large garden also provided work for the children and food for the family.

Nightly and table prayers and the roadways were part of each day. Attendance at Mass was regular.

“It has been a satisfying 60 years,” said Sister Bernelle. “I treasure each day as gift.”