Sister Mary Bratrsovsky, OSB, was elected by the Sisters at Sacred Heart Monastery, to serve as their Prioress for the next six years. She was installed as the eighth Prioress on January 2, 2011. Sister Mary succeeds Sister Judith Ann Heble, OSB, who served as Prioress to the Benedictine Sisters in Lisle for 18 years.
Sister Mary was born in Denver, Colorado, the sixth of fifteen children of Mary Agnes and Cyril Bratrsovsky. She entered Sacred Heart Monastery from St. Helena Parish, Fort Morgan, Colorado, following in the footsteps of many relatives who were sisters and priests.
Sister Mary earned a BA in Home Economics and Secondary Education from St. Benedict’s College in Minnesota, and an MA in Religious Education from Loyola University, Chicago. She began teaching at Benet Academy in 1967 as an instructor in home economics, when the school became co-ed. As the need for Home Economics classes diminished, Sister moved into the Religion Department. Sister Mary was on the faculty of Benet for 37 years. She served as the Department Chair, introduced student retreats into the curriculum and encouraged her students to work toward justice for all. The Sister Mary Bratrsovsky, OSB Outstanding Christian Service Award is given annually to that senior who believes that action on behalf of justice is a Biblical imperative and is actively involved in pursuing that justice.
Sister Mary has served on boards and committees at Sacred Heart Monastery, Benet Academy and Villa St. Benedict. In 2001, she received the Rotary Club of Lisle’s Distinguished Service Award for her work with DAYBREAK of Lisle Transitional Housing Program. She continues as the President of DAYBREAK, which currently serves five families who are homeless, mentoring them to full employment and permanent housing. In 2004, she retired from Benet and began working at Villa St. Benedict, a Senior Living Center built on the grounds of the Monastery.
Throughout the winter, Sister Mary grows seedlings in the Monastery basement, and spring’s warming days will find her in the Grotto weeding and planting. She also finds time to enjoy woodworking and photography.
During the year of discernment which preceded Sister Mary’s election, the Sisters established a set of goals which Sister Mary embraced in her remarks at her installation. She concluded by saying, “If we carefully follow the Rule of Benedict, we will be practicing the Good Zeal to which Benedict challenges us when he tells us to prefer nothing whatsoever to Christ. If we are faithful to living this monastic way, then, the glory of the Lord will continue to shine upon us.”
Sister Christine Kouba, OSB, wrote the following acrostic for Sister Mary on the occaison of her 50th Jubilee:
M A R Y
M- Stands for: Mighty
Mary is mighty and robust, yet, seemingly small in size;
Physically fit she enjoys heavy labor which is no surprise.
She tinkers in the grotto to groom it well,
Moves stones and barrels as we can tell.
She pulls unwieldy weeds and plants flowers instead.
Then, marvels at how lilies grow and how birds are fed.
A-Stands for: Able
Mary is able to multi-task complicated matters with relative ease;
Meetings, guests, the sick, and many requests she needs to please.
From morning to night she dashes with haste from here to there
And in the end, she frequently has plenty of extra time to spare.
R-Stands for: Religious
Mary is a Religious, who 50 years ago, gladly laid down her life
Like the Mother of Jesus she said: “Yes, I accept, even the strife.”
Praying, teaching God’s word, offering her labors the Benedictine way,
Trusting God that all will be well in the Monastery setting every day.
Y- Stands for Yester-Years
Mary recalls her lively yester- years growing up with gratitude;
Sibling rivalry helped her develop an independent certitude.
As a Sister, her Enneagram proved she was an optimistic number Seven;
Which meant that fun in life beats murmuring in striving for Heaven.