+Sister Paschal Pocta, OSB

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+Sister Paschal Pocta, OSB

In Loving Memory

Sister Pascal PoctaSister Paschal (Agnes Bertha) Pocta, OSB, age 96, of St. Scholastica Monastery, died Monday, April 28, on Benet Hall at the Monastery.  She entered the Duluth Benedictine Community July 31, 1927, and professed her monastic vows July 11, 1929.  On August 15, 1954, she celebrated her Silver Jubilee and her Golden on August 15, 1979.  These were followed by three Diamond Jubilees, her 60th on August 13, 1989, her 70th August 15,1999, and her 75th August 8, 2004.

Sister Paschal was born October 18, 1911, in Mason City, Iowa, into a family of three boys and five girls.  She spent most of her active years in domestic service.  She served as a housekeeper at Holy Name Convent in Wayzata, Minnesota; St. Timothy’s in Chicago; Our Lady of Victory in Minneapolis; and St. Gertrude’s in Washington, D.C. She was a cook and kitchen supervisor at St. James’ Home (now Woodland Hills) in Duluth.  Sister Paschal also served in food service at Cathedral High Convent and St. Scholastica Monastery in Duluth. On November 29, 1974, Sister Paschal was honored in a ceremony for her work at Woodland Hills where she served as chief cook and helped with purchasing and dietary planning for the facility.  On October 8, 1990, she was one of the honorees at a celebration of thanksgiving for Sisters in Domestic Service in the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis.  In the summer of 1994 an appreciation/farewell reception was held for her as she concluded many years of service at Our Lady of Victory.  When she retired to the Monastery, she assisted with office work and other services.  She was admitted to Benet Hall on September 28, 2004. Sister Paschal thoroughly loved her work as a cook.  She was an expert at discerning what people liked and obliged them whenever she could, especially on their birthdays.  Often the request would be for her famous apple pies. 

She was willing to go anywhere to help where needed.  Once when she was working on a small mission which involved cooking for only a few, she didn’t hesitate to go to St. Gertrude’s School in Washington, D.C., where she needed to cook for all the resident students as well as the Sisters and sometimes faculty members.  Her hospitality extended also to the animal kingdom.  Once during a shortage of food in the woods, a small bear appeared outside St. James’ Home. Sister Paschal bent down and offered him a sweet roll. Gradually the bear walked up to her and took it.  By the time he was finished, her hospitality had netted him eight rolls.

Sister Paschal was preceded in death by her parents, Frank and Mary (Lukes); three brothers, Frank, Victor, and William and three sisters, Augustina Vanhorn, Mary Zemek, and Rose Skluzacek.  Besides the Sisters of St. Scholastica Monastery, she is survived by her sister, Sister Lea Pocta, a sister-in-law, Florence Pocta, and many nieces and nephews.

A wake service was held at 9:30 a.m. on May 3, 2008, in Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel, St. Scholastica Monastery. Visitation followed until the 11:00 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial with Fr. Brian Schultz presiding.  Burial was in Gethsemane Cemetery.


Domestic/Food Service

  • Holy Name Convent, Wayzata, MN
  • St. Timothy’s Convent, Chicago, IL
  • St. Gertrude’s Convent, Washington, D.C.
  • Our Lady of Victory, Minneapolis, MN
  • St. James’ Home (Woodland Hills), Duluth, MN
  • Cathedral Convent, Duluth, MN
  • St. Scholastica Monastery, Duluth, MN

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Posted in Happenings, Obituaries


  1. I was a resident in St. James where we ate the food of this great cook. They had a big flat top and she would cover that perfect temp surface with whipped scrambled sieved fresh shell eggs. Then she would allow it to congeal and folded them over so they were layered in the serving pan.
    I never saw her do it, but I have cooked 40 years and graduated from CIA NY. So I deconstructed it. At the school they taught us to continually stir the eggs and serve them lumpy and under done.
    I liked chef Pascals technique. After standing in the hotel pan the lumpy eggs solidify and you cut them with the serving spoon. And you get an egg scrambled egg mountain. No hotels would allow her technique. But you can make an omelette spread out with side heated ingredients and fold them up put a steamer lid on top and garnish the top with the ingredients left for identification -VS – pan folding out with ingredients stirred within or place in the middle.. That’s Perkins style. Big warm griddle maybe with the sun shining on it.
    When they became Woodland Hills they tortured us into ratting on one another and abusing each other. The food was better than Totem Town reform school in St. Paul. But he treatment was awful. Another kid, maybe Nick Solon I’m 64 now told me she was murdered by a resident so I just found out she lived to a totally ripe age. Their should be a scholarship fund for cooking school named after her. I have been under the care of Jesus for 2 years.
    Of course her cooking was an early inspiration for me and my first job after reform school was Sambo’s in Spring Lake Park MN.

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