BENEDICTINE SISTERS
OF THE SACRED HEART

1910 Maple Ave
Lisle, Il 60532

BYZANTINE BENEDICTINE
SISTERS

169 Kenmore Ave N.E. # 301
Warren, OH 44483

 

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Mary Agnes Kallus, OSB

Reflection written and read by Sister Mary Bratrsovsky, OSB
Wake Service April 14, 2019

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me. Mt 25:31-36

'Come, Sister Mary Agnes, you who are blessed by my Father, Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. When one has lived the life of giving of self so freely, so joyfully, so totally to all we can be assured that one has inherited the kingdom of God. The one criteria for inheriting the kingdom is detailed in Matthew’s last judgment scene in Chapter 25. “Whatever you do for the least of my brothers and sister that you did for me”. Sister Mary Agnes’ life was exceptional in doing just that, and much more besides.

Entering Scared Heart Monastery in 1942 from LaGrange, Texas, Sister Mary Agnes, was one of twelve children, and was the daughter of the late Robert and Cecilia Kallus. Four other siblings, two deceased, Sister Angelica and Andrea and two still with us, Sister Josephine and Virginia had been or are members of our community.

Prior to her long teaching career in Joliet, Sister Mary Agnes taught at St. Joseph Orphanage (now Benet Academy) and was a “dorm mother” to orphans there from 1945 to its closure in 1956.

Sister spoke most fondly of those years and cried sorrowfully when the children were bused away in 1956.

Sister obtained her Bachelor’s Degree from DePaul University in Chicago, taught in various schools in Texas and then in Joliet. She will be remembered mostly for her years in Joliet.

She began as a teacher at St. Bernard and Saints Cyril & Methodius, and moved to St. Joseph’s School in 1980. She was the fourth grade teacher at St. Joseph’s until her retirement. In some cases, she taught two generations in a family. In addition, Sister Mary Agnes ministered to the parishioners at Saints Cyril & Methodius on weekends as the religious education coordinator. She helped to prepare students for First Eucharist and Confirmation, served as sacristan and Eucharistic minister in the Church, and brought communion to the homebound. Sister was an active member of her parish, working hard to ensure success and fun at events. Any spare time was spent visiting nursing homes, and providing clothing and food to the poor.

Additionally, Sister Mary Agnes served as a member of the Altar and Rosary Society and the Parish Council. Sister’s familiar face was always found hard at work to ensure the success of all parish events.

Never forgetting the people and needs of Joliet, Sister spent her time at the monastery collecting clothes and other items to take back to Joliet to ensure the success of their yard sales for necessary monies for the school.

The Facebook responses to her death, of which there were over 100, say it all! I quote only a few!

Denisse Guerrero- Born in 92', I had the blessing of being Sister Mary Agnes' student in the 1999-2000 school year. How can I forget her gentle heart and passion for teaching? I'll always remember the red crayola container with stickers in it, those were awesome!

Karen Herman- Coming home today I heard a song: "Well done, Well done, my good and faithful one, now you are home where you belong, well done, well done." The words were for Sister Mary Agnes. She served the Lord well her entire life. My family was blest many times over because of her love.

Jan Novotny- Sister Mary Agnes “adopted” St. Joseph Academy and did so many kind things for us and sheltered us with her powerful prayers. We loved her visits. God welcome you home, Sister. Please keep praying for us!

Daniel Smicker -I saw her at the schools garage sales before she left the area!!!! A wonderful human being.

Gabby Chavez-Sanchez- May she rest in peace, in the Lord's home, she was so helpful and friendly. My girls had her in CCD in Saints Cyril and Methodius Church and years later in St Joe's school. Our family is grateful for knowing her and will be praying for her.

Mary Lynn Bruno- Sr. Mary Agnes will always remain near and dear to my heart. She prayed for me and I pray for her. So many lessons that she taught me live on in my children, May she rest in the heavenly arms of our Lord.

Her ministry in the Monastery was hospitality to the Villa residents, delivering mail, birthday cards, blowing kisses to residents and employees, always with a positive comment and presence. Benedale residents in assisted care expressed their love in a card now hanging in on community on the bulletin board prepared for her.

Sister Mary Agnes modeled Monastic life. She was most attentive to prayer, praying the rosary, community needs, and the needs of the sisters in the St. Walburga Care Center, arriving with coffee, ice bags or food to those who needed a little snack or coffee break. In between times she could be caught collecting yet more items and then delivering them to the families, parish and schools in Joliet. The third Sunday of the month was always a day to keep in touch with her community in Joliet.

Sister Mary Agnes’ life on this earth came to a quick end. Medical issues necessitated 24 hour oxygen about a month ago. She was waiting for the arrival of a portable oxygen unit so she could get back on duty in her motorized vehicle. Active up to the night before she died, she called on Sister Christine to check her oxygen level around midnight, Sister increased it and got it up to the correct level but then found her unconscious in the morning. Our community gathered in her room, prayed the prayers for the dying and at 11:15 am God said to her, "well done good and faithful servant inherit the kingdom of heaven, for what you did for others that you did for me."

Sister Mary Agnes, we love you and thank you for your presence in our lives, we will not forget you and and we look forward to that day when Christ will bring us all together unto everlasting life.



The Homily by Fr. Becket, OSB
Mass of Christian Burial April 15, 2019

Last night I asked Sister Josephine to give me a word or phrase that described her sister, Sister Mary Agnes. Sister Josephine thought for a minute. I interjected- “Would you say that she was always ‘in-charge’?” Sister Josephine shook her head ‘yes.’

It makes sense, to build the kingdom of God someone has to be in charge.

Someone in charge gets his or her strength from the Eucharist. On this holy mountain, in this sacred space, the chapel, Sister Mary Agnes fed on the body and blood of Christ. Here she encountered the words and face of God. It is on this hallowed ground that she heard the words of salvation. With this confidence then, God confirmed her in her ministry.

Beginning as a “dorm mother” at the orphanage, and continuing as a teacher of grade school and religious education, Sister Mary Agnes took charge to build the kingdom. Knowing her dependence on God, Sister Mary Agnes discovered deep within herself, the virtue of mercy, the thirst for righteousness and peacemaking. She was not just collecting boxes of clothes and food for the poor, led by the Spirit. She was ministering to Christ himself. These sacred actions flowed from the Eucharist. May God reward her with the title of “Blessed.” To paraphrase the writer of the Book of Revelation, “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord…” “Yes,” [says] the Spirit, “let [her] find rest from [her] labors, for [her] works accompany [her].” Now, I wonder what area of the eternal kingdom God gave to her under her charge.

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon her. May she rest in peace, amen! May all the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen!


From the Archives

LBW December 2009

Friday evenings are for community gatherings. The sisters come together to relax and visit, watch a movie, play cards or games, and enjoy special refreshments. On the evening of October 2nd, a Jubilee Celebration was held in honor of Sister Mary Agnes Kallus, OSB and Sister Gilbert Tuma, OSB on the 65th anniversary of their of monastic profession. Jubilees are important times at Sacred Heart Monastery. The sisters look back over the lives of the special celebrants and reflect on the part each has played in the life of the monastery. It is a time of special thanksgiving, and of looking ahead to what new blessings might come to their lives.

Sister Mary Agnes returned home to the monastery in September of this year after living at Sts. Cyril & Methodius Parish in Joliet since 1970. An educator for her entire career, Sister Mary Agnes served at St. Joseph Orphanage and St. Joan of Arc in Lisle, and schools in Texas and Ohio before moving to Joliet. She began as a teacher at St. Bernard and Sts. Cyril & Methodius, and moved to St. Joseph’s School in 1980. She was the fourth grade teacher at St. Joseph’s until her retirement. In some cases, she taught two generations in a family. In addition, Sister Mary Agnes ministered to the parishioners at Sts. Cyril & Methodius on weekends as the religious education coordinator. She helped to prepare students for First Eucharist and Confirmation, served as sacristan and Eucharistic minister in the Church, and brought communion to the homebound. Sister was an active member of her parish, working hard to ensure success and fun at events. She took special interest in providing clothing and food to those in need in Joliet.

Sister Mary Agnes is one of five Kallus sisters (Sisters Andrea, Josephine, Virginia and the late, Angelica) from La Grange, Texas, who are members of the Sacred Heart Monastery community.

Duties at the monastery will keep Sister Mary Agnes busy in her retirement. She will be preparing rooms and welcoming guests to the monastery, and visiting with the residents of Benedale Center and Villa St. Benedict. She hopes to be able to do some tutoring or substitute teaching, as well.

LBW December 2004

The Benedictine Sisters of Lisle celebrated the sixtieth anniversary of Sister Mary Agnes Kallus, OSB, on October 16th, 2004.

Entering the community in 1942 from LaGrange, Texas, Sister Mary Agnes, who was one of twelve children, is the daughter of the late Robert and Cecilia Kallus. Four other siblings are members of the community: Sisters Andrea, Josephine, Virginia and the late Angelica.

Sister obtained her Bachelor’s Degree from DePaul University in Chicago.

Sister Mary Agnes teaches at St. Joseph’s in Joliet and ministers to the parishioners of Ss. Cyril and Methodius Parish as Religious Education Minister. She also teaches religion classes on Sunday, preparing students for First Eucharist and Confirmation. Sister serves as sacristan and Eucharistic minister, bringing Communion and visiting the homebound. Any spare time is spent visiting nursing homes, and providing clothing and food to the poor.

Additionally, Sister Mary Agnes serves as a member of the Altar and Rosary Society and the Parish Council at her parish. Participating in their social events, Sister’s familiar face is always found hard at work to ensure the success of all parish events. Prior to her long teaching career in Joliet, Sister Mary Agnes taught at St. Joseph Orphanage (now Benet Academy) and was a “dorm mother” to orphans there for many years.