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Sister Mary Elizabeth Krone welcomed religious life

Sister Mary Elizabeth Krone welcomed religious life - (18-12-2020)

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(CLYDE, Mo) - Benedictine Sister of Perpetual Adoration Mary Elizabeth Krone died on Dec. 14, 2020.

She was born Marilyn Jean on Sept. 25, 1927, in Clyde, Kansas, to Charles and Zella Parsons Krone, and was the eldest of five children. Her father was a veterinarian and her mother was a housewife. She competed in local horse shows and attended Catholic grade schools in Kansas until the fourth grade, when the Great Depression began to severely affect the family.

“Nobody had any money,” she later remembered. “People would give Dad beans or something, whatever they had, for payment. He knew it wouldn’t get any better, so he sold his animal hospital and our house. We packed up the car, the kids, our belongings, even the dog and the canary.”

The family moved to LaGrange, Illinois, where Marilyn Jean continued her education in Catholic schools. She even won a scholarship to the local academy. As a child, Marilyn spent part of her summer vacations with her beloved maternal grandparents. As the only granddaughter among nine grandsons, she was the “apple of their eye. In their eyes I could do no wrong,” she once laughed. “It was a mutual caring, and I really loved them.”

Marilyn Jean sensed at the young age of 11 that she would become a religious sister. She promised herself she would go to Mass every single day and receive communion. Later, during her sophomore year of college at Marymount College in Salina, Kansas, where she was majoring in Latin, she grew dissatisfied with the educational path she was on.

“I was miserable at college,” she said, “and I thought, ‘What am I doing here?’”

Soon after that, Marilyn discovered a booklet about a saint. It was printed by the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, and it pulled at her heartstrings. She had been receiving the congregation’s magazine since she was 10 years old. Her cousin, Sister Jane Frances Hurley, had entered the community in the 1930s, and Marilyn liked the fact the Sisters were contemplative rather than working in schools or hospitals.

“They also had perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament,” she said. “Whatever else they did, I didn’t care. I just knew Clyde was the place for me.”

It was time to follow the vocation she had nurtured for some years, and she decided to enter the Benedictine Sisters. Her eventual trip to Clyde, Missouri, was a circuitous one. She begged her parents for a family road trip before entering. They headed to California to visit family. They took a boat to Catalina Island and spent time in Northern California. They began the long drive back East, stopping along the way. They rode mules in the Grand Canyon. The days together created some very special memories before she entered.

“We arrived in Clyde on Aug.14, 1947, in time for First Vespers on the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary,” she recalled. “My mother’s first words were, ‘This is the place.’”

The young woman’s first impressions were equally grand. “Everything was green. I didn’t care what we wore, what we ate, what we did,” she said. “I just knew I’d take it all with open arms.”

She entered the Benedictine Sisters the next day. She made her first vows on May 29, 1949, taking the name Sister Mary Elizabeth and made perpetual vows on July 12, 1954.

During her years in community, Sister Mary Elizabeth served at the monasteries in Clyde; Kansas City, Missouri; St. Louis; Mundelein, Illinois; San Diego; and Tucson, Arizona. She worked in the correspondence department, the kitchen, the sacristy, in liturgy and in altar bread production. She played the organ and took formal lessons from renowned virtuoso organist Dr. Mario Salvador. While some may think that an organist finds it difficult to pray while playing during services, Sister Mary Elizabeth was adamant that this was not the case.

“It adds even more prayer,” she said.

Sister Mary Elizabeth was bright and positive. Whenever she was asked which of the communities was her favorite, she always responded, “Wherever I am, that’s my favorite.” She loved people and often said, “Every person is my favorite.”

During her years in San Diego and Tucson, she photographed the various guests and visitors who came to the monastery, filling about 15 albums. The memories that Sister Mary Elizabeth often shared as most special included time spent with Mother Mary Dolorosa Mergen, enjoying homemade vanilla ice cream with strawberries on the Fourth of July and the beauty of the Adoration Chapel in Clyde. She also loved taking gourmet cooking lessons from the Tucson cook, Rose Almaguer, Course sponsored by EDX.

Sister Mary Elizabeth enjoyed whatever life gave her.

“I’m a follower, not a leader,” she once said. “I feel that whatever I’m asked to do, God is asking that of me. Just follow your heart. Just follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit.”

In failing health, Sister Mary Elizabeth transferred to Our Lady of Rickenbach in 2016. She continued her extensive correspondence with her many friends and family members. Death came unexpectedly and peacefully shortly before noon on Dec. 14, 2020. Sister Mary Elizabeth is survived by her brothers, Jim and Bill; her sister, Kaye; nieces and nephews; and her monastic family. Her funeral liturgy at the Benedictine Sisters’ Adoration Chapel and burial at Mount Calvary Cemetery were on Dec. 16, 2020, in Clyde.