Sister Claudia Riehl, professor, administrator and director of Benedictine Health System
Benedictine Sister Claudia Riehl died Feb. 26 at St. Scholastica Monastery. Sister Claudia, 88, was in her 67th year of monastic profession.
Born in Raleigh, N.D., Feb. 13, 1927, she was the daughter of Melchior and Emma (Wagner) Riehl, one of seven children. She entered St. Scholastica Monastery as a postulant Jan. 8, 1946. She professed triennial vows July 11, 1947 and perpetual vows July 11, 1950.
She received her bachelor’s degree in education from the College of St. Scholastica and a master’s degree in religious education (Scripture concentration) at Immaculate Heart College, Los Angeles.
In 1948-52 Sister Claudia began her teaching career at St. Anthony School in Duluth and continued to teach from 1952-57 at Our Lady of Victory, Minneapolis. From 1957-65 she taught at St. Thomas School, Phoenix. She was principal and teacher at Assumption School in Hibbing from 1965-67.
Sister Claudia was novice director at St. Scholastica Monastery from 1967-70 and assistant professor of religious studies/psychology at the College of St. Scholastica from 1970-82, where she taught Scripture classes and group dynamics.
She served her monastic community as a member of the Monastery Initial Formation Team, as the director of monastery volunteers, as circulation coordinator in the monastery development office, and as director of human resources. She celebrated her diamond jubilee in 2007.
Sister Claudia served on a number of boards and in other administrative positions, including the Benedictine Health Center, the College of St. Scholastica, the Diocese of Duluth coordinator for ecumenical and interfaith dialogue, Woodland Hills Juvenile Rehabilitation in Duluth, St. Mary’s Regional Health Center in Detroit Lakes, the Arrowhead Council of Churches, and St. Francis Regional Medical Center and St. Gertrude’s Health and Rehabilitation Center in Shakopee.
In 1991 Sister Claudia became director of mission integration at the Benedictine Health System (BHS), a newly formed position which she held for nearly 20 years with the goal of “keeping alive the healing ministry of Jesus.”
As part of the 25th anniversary year celebration of the founding of the BHS, Sister Claudia was honored for her work when the BHS Foundation established the Sister Claudia Riehl Living a Legacy Program, which recognizes the work of others at each of the facilities in the system who model Sister Claudia’s dedication and commitment to the BHS mission and core values.
She retired from the BHS in 2011.
Sister Claudia was preceded in death by her parents, her brother Eugene and her sister and best friend, Sister Agatha, OSB. Besides the sisters of St. Scholastica Monastery, she is survived by her brothers Emil and Theodore; her sisters Dorothy Leader and Alvina Wang; and by many nieces and nephews, friends and associates.
Mass of Christian Burial was held March 7 in Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel at St. Scholastica Monastery. Memorials to the monastery preferred.