Funeral Mass for Sister Ruth (Marlene) Fox, 87, of Dickinson, will be Monday, September 18th at 10:30 am MT at Assumption Abbey Church in Richardton. Viewing and visitation will be one hour prior to the service. Interment will be in the Benedictine Sisters’ Cemetery, Richardton, ND.
The funeral Mass will be live streamed on Sister Ruth's obituary page at www.stevensonfuneralhome.com
Sister Ruth (Marlene) Fox was born January 24, 1936, at Stanley, ND, and enjoyed growing up on their family farm. Like her older sister and three brothers, she attended country school for eight years, then Van Hook Public High School. After two years she transferred to the Benedictine Sisters boarding school, Sacred Heart Academy, in Minot. After graduation in 1953, she entered the novitiate of Sacred Heart Convent and made her monastic profession a year later, at the age of 18.
Since her mother and grandmother were both teachers, she was probably destined to enter this profession. The next years were spent alternating between teaching at St. Nicholas School, Garrison, and at Sacred Heart Academy, Minot, and going to college at St. Benedict’s College, St. Joseph, MN, and Creighton University in Omaha, NE. In 1965, Sister Ruth was appointed formation director and in 1973, the Sisters elected her to the position of prioress, in which she served two four-year terms. Then a two-year sabbatical gave her the privilege of studying scripture and theology in Israel, Rome, and St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN.
In 1990, after several years as campus minister at Dickinson State University, Sister Ruth was elected president of the Federation of Saint Gertrude, an association of 18 monasteries of Benedictine women in the United States and Canada. This nine-year position gave her the opportunity for international travel including several trips to Rome. She conducted retreats in several Benedictine monasteries, published numerous articles on spirituality, and wrote a book on monastic leadership titled: Wisdom Leadership. From 2000 to 2005, she guided the ecumenical Benedictine Spirituality Center at our monastery, until she was again elected prioress of the monastery for six years. Sister Ruth compiled the history of our community from 1910 to the present, played organ for daily monastic liturgies, oversaw the monastery archives, and assisted with housekeeping chores.
Sr. Ruth was very involved in Benedictine life beyond the US. She was a member of the Monastic Interreligious Dialogue Board and spent three months in India on a monastic exchange program. She was a member of the American Benedictine Academy and its president from 1986 to 1999.
What excited her most was her membership in the International Commission of Benedictine women. This was a worldwide endeavor of uniting Monastic women. We clearly remember when she came back from Rome and told us that she and a European Abbess went to the Congregation for Religious and were successful in their efforts to unite nuns and sisters of the monastic tradition into one worldwide network.
In addition to religious life leaderships, she was involved in the broader Church. She was the first President of the Sisters Council of the Diocese of Bismarck, the Dickinson State University Committee, Diocese of Bismarck committee for ongoing education of the clergy, Diocese of Bismarck Pastoral Council
Although she did not consider herself an expert in any area, she had multitudinous interests. She liked to write, read, sew, play the organ, play Scrabble and go for walks. She had few dislikes, but among them playing bridge and any kind of sports ranked high. All in all, she said she had a wonderful, enriching life for which she was very grateful to God, family, community, and friends.
If you would ask others to describe Sister Ruth, this is what you would hear: “wise and gracious woman”, “such wisdom and humility, “a giant in my eye and I know others share this experience”, “wonderful woman and leader”.
Due to failing health, Sister Ruth moved to St. Vincent’s in Bismarck in the fall of 2022.