As we continue to process the records from Belleville, we come upon many beautiful and interesting stories. One of these is from Sr. Gertrud Keber. Ida Keber was born on August 27, 1900 in Passenheim, East Prussia, and her family suffered much during World War I. They hid in forests as they saw battle rage near their home, and one of her brothers was killed during the war. Having completed her graduate studies at Prague University, Ida came to the United States in 1926 to continue her education. Fr. Wagner, pastor of St. Agnes Church in Kenmare, North Dakota, was a relative of the family and invited Ida to live there when not in school. She attended Minot State College and later the University in Grand Forks where she received a master’s degree in art after she had entered religious life. During these years Ida would often drive Fr. Wagner in her Ford Model T during his pastoral work.
Ida spent time teaching with the Ursuline Sisters at Sts. Peter and Paul School in Strasburg, North Dakota and decided to join the order. However, she entered in Kenmare, not Germany, which was a disappointment to her family who wished her to move back to Europe. On June 15, 1933 Ida entered Postulancy and eventually took the name Sr. Gertrud, making her final vows on January 2, 1940. Sr. Gertrud was a talented teacher towards students of all ages and was able to help them achieve great results. In her later years Sr. Gertrud spent much time with the elderly, teaching them art. In 1966 she was chosen as the “Woman of the Year” recipient from the Minot Business and Professional Women’s Club and in 1972 she was honored for her fifty years of teaching. Due to her declining health, later that year she had to quit the classroom forever.
Living in North Dakota for many years, Sr. Gertrud greatly enjoyed nature. Every flower, animal, flower, and sunset gave her great joy. She was able to capture many of these things in her artwork, a great testament to her talent and eye for beauty.