Themes in the poetry of Madeline DeFrees are described as “an individual’s search for enlightenment, the continual shock to the senses, the ambiguity of good and evil, and the tension between hope and despair.” These themes resonate from a poet whose writing life was fostered during many years as a nun with the Catholic Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, which she entered upon graduation from high school and from which she later requested release.
As Sister Mary Gilbert, she completed a B.A. in English at Marylhurst College in 1948, a M.A. in Journalism at the University of Oregon in 1951, and then taught in a variety of positions from elementary through high school and college. She resumed her baptismal name before she began teaching at The University of Montana in 1967 as Sister Madeline DeFrees where she remained until 1979. Currently, retired from teaching, DeFrees lives in Seattle.
Her donation of books from her personal library to the Mansfield Library are the first in a series of donations that establish the Poetry Corner, a space devoted to the study and writing of creative literature. The Poetry Corner was developed in support of the Creative Writing Program at The University of Montana and is used for study, literary readings, and creative writing classes.
Last Updated: 13 March 2003.