Sister Laura (Marie) Daigle, OSB, 87, of St. Scholastica Monastery, died at St. Mary’s Medical Center, Duluth, on January 4, 2009. She was born December 9, 1921, in the Township of St. Mathias, Crow Wing County, Minnesota. She attended Our Lady of Sacred Heart Grade School, Cloquet, Minnesota, and in 1939 graduated from Stanbrook Hall High School, Duluth, Minnesota. That same year she entered the Duluth Benedictine Monastery and made her monastic profession in 1941. Sister Laura celebrated her Silver Jubilee in 1966, her Golden in 1991 and her Diamond in 2001. She was in her 68th year of monastic profession.
Sister Laura served in many places and capacities. She taught middle and upper grades in St. Gertrude’s School, Washington, D.C. as well as at St. Thomas’ School, International Falls, Minnesota, and St. John’s School in Duluth. She was the prefect for girls at St. Gertrude’s and for boys at St. James Children’s Home in Duluth. After graduating from The College of St. Scholastica in 1958 where she earned a B.S. degree and an RN, her main duties from then on were in the field of health care. From 1955-1963, she was a student nurse, assistant head nurse, and finally head nurse at St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth. She served as a nurse in St. Joseph’s Hospital, Brainerd, Minnesota, and night supervisor at the Cuyuna Range District Hospital, Crosby, Minnesota. In 1966 Sister Laura was head nurse at Hibbing General Hospital where she also worked as a therapist at the Psychiatric Day Hospital in Hibbing and as a nurse counselor for youth in a drug program. In 1991 she retired and resided at St. Scholastica Monastery where she assisted in the gift shop and the spiritual resource center and was the Associate Oblate Director.
At her wake, a very touching letter one of her nephews wrote to “my favorite aunt” was read. He told of the enjoyable times they had when she visited them. So much was she a part of their family that when his father built a new home in 2004, one bedroom was reserved for her. Her favorite project was to collect as many of the writings of Thomas Merton as she could and to share his wisdom with others. Everything she had accumulated since 1948 resulted in the founding of The Thomas Merton Center in 1978, and in 2000 she became its director.
Sister Laura was preceded in death by her parents, Theodore and Hazel (Tougas) Daigle, and one brother, Donald. In addition to the Sisters of St. Scholastica Monastery, she is survived by two brothers, Steve and Ted; one sister, Clara Lou Kinnunen, and several nieces and nephews.
A wake service was held Friday, January 9, 2009, in Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel, St. Scholastica Monastery followed by the Mass of Christian Burial in Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel with Father William Graham presiding. Interment was in Gethsemane Cemetery.
- St. Gertrude’s—Washington, D.C.
- St. John’s—Duluth, MN
- St. Thomas—International Falls
- Board of Trustees St. Mary’s Medical Center—Duluth, MN
- Board of Trustees—Hibbing General Hospital
- Advisory Board of Crisis shelter—Virginia, MN
- Advisory Board of Cerebral Palsy—Iron Range
- Advisory Board of Parents Without Partners—Iron Range
- Advisory Board of Alcohol and Chemical Dependency—Virginia, MN
- Advisory Board of Saint Anne of Winona—Winona, MN
- Range Center for Retarded—Chisholm, MN
- Regional Governor’s Crime Commission—Duluth, MN
- Head Nurse—St. Joseph’s Medical Center—Brainerd, MN
- Head Nurse—St. Mary’s Medical Center—Duluth, MN
- Head Nurse—Hibbing General Hospital—Hibbing, MN
- Director of Thomas Merton Reading Room—Duluth, MN