Sister Elizabeth Novy, 104, the last remaining of the founding members of Annunciation Monastery, Bismarck, entered eternal life on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020 at St. Vincent’s Care Center where she has resided since March 2. The Vigil Service is Friday, December 4. A private Mass of Christian burial will be held 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5, 2:00 in the Chapel of Annunciation Monastery. A service livestream will be available on the funeral home’s website, listed below. Due to current COVID circumstances, services are not open to the public.
A Wing, North Dakota native, Sister Elizabeth was born Aug. 3, 1916, the sixth of the nine children of James and Mary (Marik) Novy. Of Czech heritage, her niece Kathy Richter accompanied her to a reunion of cousins and the Czech Festival in Minnesota four summers ago.
Sister Elizabeth once said that her parents knew her strong desire to be a teacher and they did everything they could to get her an education, including being a boarder, along with 15 other girls at St. Mary’s High School. Sister Elizabeth’s desire became a lifetime of teaching in her own rural North Dakota school and then, after entering St. Benedict’s Convent, St. Joseph, Minnesota, in Catholic schools in Dickinson, Mott, and Bismarck. Along with other sisters in those years, she taught summer catechism classes in rural sites in the Diocese of Bismarck where no Catholic schools existed. Following five years at St. Mary’s School, most of her years of teaching were at Cathedral School where, in later years, she was a reading specialist. Sister Elizabeth taught summer reading courses at Mary College. She wrote, “I handed in my classroom keys” in May 2004. “That was the end of my 67 years in the classroom.”
In her awareness of people and their needs, she helped Cathedral School students coordinate a fundraiser for the Bismarck Diocese’s African Mission and the God’s Child Project in Guatemala and sharpen their real-life math skills at the same time. At age 83 Sister Elizabeth was gifted with a trip to Guatemala where her learning continued. She also enjoyed a hot air balloon ride in later years. A sculpture garden outside Cathedral School was dedicated in her name at the time of her 85th birthday.
For the Sisters of Annunciation Monastery, Sister Elizabeth’s inspiration and love for teaching was experienced in her example of how to live life in love for God and others, engaging in gracious relationship, and seeking opportunities to “keep her mind sharp.” In the course of COVID restrictions, she participated in periodic masked visits and “Facetime” exchanges with sisters at the Monastery. This past July marked Sister Elizabeth’s 80th anniversary of monastic profession. She is dearly missed at Annunciation Monastery.
Sister Elizabeth was preceded in death by her parents; and siblings, Anton, Theresa, Anna, Edward, Agnes, Rose, and twins Peter and Paul. She is survived by nieces and nephews and the Sisters of Annunciation Monastery.
Memorials may be made to Annunciation Monastery.