In Loving Memory
Sister Magdalen (formerly Magdella) Dooper, OSB, 97, of St. Scholastica Monastery, died December 27, 2009. She entered the Duluth Benedictine community on February 24, 1931, and was admitted to the novitiate November 13, 1931, when she received the name “Magdella.” Many years later she returned to her baptismal name. Sister made her first profession December 30, 1932, and professed final monastic vows July 11, 1936. She observed the 70th anniversary of her profession July 28, 2002, and at the time of her death was in the 77th year of her monastic profession.
Sister Magdalen was born in Amery, Wisconsin, November 23, 1912, the first of eight children born to Bernard and Catherine (Dosch) Dooper. Her early life was spent in the Amery area where she attended the public elementary and secondary schools. In 1930 she enrolled at The College of St. Scholastica where she earned a B.S. in Elementary Education after which she began her teaching ministry. She taught at St. James, St. John’s, and St. Clement’s in Duluth; Assumption Hall in Hibbing; Marquette in Virginia; and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in Cloquet.
Later Sister Magdalen earned an Executive Housekeeper Certification through the National Executive Housekeepers Association. As a member of this Association she held offices in both the Head of the Lakes Chapter and the Upper Midwest District. She was also a member of the Duluth Community Fund’s Council on Aging. Sister Magdalen served as prefect of nurses at St. Mary’s School of Nursing in Duluth and as sacristan at Hibbing General Hospital in Hibbing. For the last forty years of her active career she worked with the elderly at the former St. Ann’s Home, the St. Ann’s Unit of St. Mary’s Medical Center, and the present St. Ann’s Residence, all in Duluth. During this time she served in various capacities: bookkeeper, administrator, executive housekeeper, house director, and supervisor of linen and housekeeping. In 1996 she retired and returned to the Monastery where she continued to provide craft items for the Monastery Gift Shop and participated in its prayer ministry.
Sister Magdalen was very devoted to her family. At her wake it was noted that she was a rich source of information on their history. After the death of her father when she was sixteen, she took over the household chores to free her mother and the younger children to care for the animals and do the field work on the farm. She was a quiet, unassuming and gracious person and very attentive to the details of daily living. These traits carried over into her work ministries as well. Sister Magdalen was efficient and dedicated to her work. She enjoyed card games (especially “Skippo”) and doing needlepoint on plastic canvas. At St. Ann’s she knew every resident’s name, was friendly to all, and carefully protected the privacy and individuality of each person. One of the residents expressed the warmth of her personality in this pithy statement: “Your sweet good morning sounds as though this cockeyed world is wonderful.”
She was preceded in death by her parents; her brothers Edward, Bernard and August; her sisters Irene, Elizabeth, and Marie; a step-sister, Florence, and a step-brother, Francis. Besides the Sisters of St. Scholastica Monastery she is survived by her sister, Dorothy O’Meara, and by many other relatives, including Sister Michelle Dosch, OSB, of St. Scholastica Monastery.
A wake service and Mass of Christian Burial were celebrated in Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel at St. Scholastica Monastery December 30, 2009, with Father Ronald Gagne presiding. Interment was in Gethsemane Cemetery.
- St. James, Duluth
- Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Cloquet
- St. Clement’s, Duluth
- St. John the Evangelist, Duluth
- Assumption Hall, Hibbing
- Marquette, Virginia
- Prefect of Nurses, St. Mary’s School of Nursing, Duluth
- Ministry with the Elderly, St. Ann’s Home, Duluth
- St. Ann’s Unit, St. Mary’s Medical Center, Duluth
- St. Ann’s Residence, Duluth