Sister Mary King, MM

Born: October 18, 1888
Entered: December 7, 1922
Died: April 6, 1960

This morning we gather, as a family, to celebrate with our Sister Mary King, her new Life, which began on the Feast of the Annunciation, Tuesday, March 25, 2003, at 2:30 a.m. in Phelps Memorial Hospital, Sleepy Hollow, New York. Sister Mary was eighty-four years of age and had been a Maryknoll Sister for fifty-four years.

Ecce Ancilla Domini “Behold the Handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to your Word.”

These words truly reflect Mary’s life. Wherever she was or whatever she did, it was always to do what God wanted of her at the moment. Around the time of her Golden Jubilee, she wrote, “I served wherever and whenever sent, I am able to adjust to each place as a new venture. Each assignment was most satisfying and a new experience in each one.” Regarding the changes happening in Maryknoll and the Church, she said: “Going along with the changes and seeing good in each one and having a deeper appreciation that I am a missioner makes me grateful for my mission vocation as a Maryknoll Sister.” When asked what she treasured most, she answered: “My fifty years of being a Maryknoll Sister and able to accept and participate in all of my experiences through the years.”

Mary was always available to help make the task easier and so we were not surprised to find in her personal file an envelope: my “Letter of Appreciation”:

“I, Sister Mary King, was born July 6, 1918 in Chicopee Fall, Massachusetts, one of two daughters to Anthony and Catherine Herlihy King. I had one sister, Katherine. I received my early education at Alvard Grade School and George S. Taylor Grammar School, graduating from Chicopee High School in Chicopee, Massachusetts in 1935. I returned the following academic year for post graduate work in both commercial and academic courses. I pursued additional business courses from Springfield Business Institute in Springfield, Massachusetts and graduated from there in 1938.

I worked as a secretary for Knit Goods Speciality Company for six years before entering Maryknoll on September 4, 1948. At Reception, I received the religious name of Sister Anne Rose. I made my First Profession March 7, 1951 and my Final Profession on the same day in 1954. Both ceremonies were at Maryknoll, New York.

From 1951 to 1956, I worked in the Promotion Department; in 1956, I was assigned to Houston, Texas to do home visiting and catechetical work with the Mexican people. The following year, 1957, I was assigned to Chicago, Illinois to assist with the many happenings that occurred each day. In 1959, I returned to the Center to do secretarial work in Maryknoll Teachers College, later named Rogers College. I remained here until the College was closed in 1973. That same year, I was asked to work in the Development Department and I terminated my post as secretary to the Director in 1999. The last years of service were with Sister Jeanne Houlihan, Director of the Department. Upon her arrival after presenting myself to her, she expressed to me, ‘I hope you won’t mind working with me.’—- A successful happening for both of us!”

After hearing of Mary’s death, Sister Jeanne Houlihan wrote: “My eyes are full of tears on the death of our beloved Mary King. She was a Maryknoll Sister with the mission of the world always before her as she served so faithfully in the Development Department. Her dry sense of humor always kept everything in perspective and made me aware of how important every single person is in a department. Faith-filled, she moved gracefully though slowly and painfully at times throughout each day; loyal to the fingertips and charitable of every person and event. When she retired she told me it was time for her to go to God. She had outlived her sister, mother and father. She was sure the Lord knew that she needed to be HOME.”

And now, continuing with Mary’s letter written in November 1999…

“I especially wished to write this letter of appreciation to express how blessed my life has been because of all who became part of my life through these many years. My parents were devoted to my older sister and to me. They were interested and we were always interested in each other. My grandnieces and nephews have always been most attentive. My Maryknoll Sisters have been caring in many ways, especially the Sisters who entered with me. I have often thought of the sincere and thoughtful ways we express and respond to each other in our notes, our personal contacts and on occasions of condolence or joyous occasions.

It has been my pleasure in working with you and living with you and enjoying each one in a most pleasant way as you have touched my life. Lovingly in Our Lady of Maryknoll, Sister Mary King.”

Every summer, Mary would go to Watch Hill, Rhode Island for vacation and would spend some of that time with her sister, Katherine, in Massachusetts. After Katherine died, her nieces continued the tradition. Mary would return from her visit and say “they were so good to me.” She loved her family and was very close to each one of them.

Accompanying us today to celebrate Mary’s Eucharist of Resurrection are her friends and family.

We welcome our Maryknoll brother, Fr. Joseph La Mar, who will preside over the Eucharistic Celebration.

“Come Mary, Handmaid of the Lord and receive the fullness of life promised you.”