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Raspberries on the Prairie

The following story appeared in the September 9 Idaho Catholic Register.

After three years’ absence, a time-honored tradition returns to the Monastery of St. Gertrude. A day-long Raspberry Social welcomed about 600 to the monastery grounds, a smaller version of the previous Raspberry Festival, which the Benedictines are hoping will return next year. Above, a number of the participants volunteered to be “living history” characters, wearing the attire that reflects the history of the monastery in Cottonwood. (Courtesy photo/Don Kopczynski and St. Gertrude Monastery)

COTTONWOOD – All things raspberry were on the agenda for this year’s Raspberry Social which, except for COVID years, serves as the major fundraiser for the historical museum at St. Gertrude’s Monastery in Cottonwood.

Raspberry shortcake, raspberry jam, raspberry vinegar, rasp-berry popcorn, raspberry bread and, yes, even raspberry lip balm were in ample supply. About 600 attended the event this year, the first since 2019, with about $16,000 raised to support the museum.

Fourteen “living history” characters in full costume were at the museum and wandered through the grounds during the event. There was also an art show at the Spirit Center, the retreat living quarters next to the monastery, as well as a sale of vintage items.

A number of musical groups performed throughout the day. A raffle awarded $1,000 in prize money as well as handmade gifts.

Father Meinrad Schallberger, OSB, chaplain at the Monastery of St. Gertrude, waits with others to purchase baked goods and other raspberrry-inspired foods at this year’s Rasp-berry Social in Cottonwood. Raspberry goods of all kinds were available for purchase, including raspberry popcorn and lip balm. (Courtesy photo/Don Kopczynski)

Volunteers from around the community help the Sisters at The Monastery of St. Gertrude with its Raspberry Social. This year the monastery “downsized” its Raspberry Festival to a “Social” to keep the older members for the community safe. Proceeds from the social benefitted the museum at the monastery. (Courtesy photo/Don Kopczynski)

Top photo, Madeline Stubbers, left, and Teagan Dieseldorff, handed out raspberry flavored soft chew candy from their buckets to Raspberry Social attendees.

Musical groups performed throughout the day including those in the middle photo from left, Kathy Hedberg, Sister Barbara Jean Glodowski, Sister Mary Forman and Sister Barbara Bielenberg.

Botton photo, Theresa Wessels, left, and Charlene Bunch serve raspberry shortcake. (Courtesy photos/Don Kopczynski)

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