Dominican Sister of Peace Marie Klein, OP, was born as Mary Ann Agatha to Tony and Mary Hoffman Klein in Fowler, KS. Her family increased by two more sisters, all three of which became Dominican Sisters in Great Bend. There were no brothers, just the three girls. Sr. Marie Antoinette is the only surviving sibling, Sr. Ruth being the first to enter eternal life.
Sr. Marie entered the Dominican Sisters in 1928, pronounced her first vows in 1931 and celebrated 80 years of religious profession in 2011. At the time of her death she was 102 years young and had only recently given up playing the organ for Liturgy. She also began to take her meals in the infirmary dining room, and continued winning lots of pinochle games in the evening recreation time!
Sr. Marie began her ministerial life as an elementary parochial school teacher. Before long she began her long ministry in music education and music ministry at the Motherhouse, and in schools, parishes, and at Saint Catherine Hospital in Garden City where she also served in pastoral care.
Among the Dominican Sisters of Peace in Great Bend, Sr. Marie is most remembered as a competent music minister. She was such a mentor for the whole community in her love of music, and it was along with her sisters, especially Sr. Ruth, that the Sisters grew in appreciation of quality singing for liturgy. She inspired composers and musicians among the Sisters and for some of the Sisters who had known her for over 70 years, she may have taught them piano and/or organ from the time they were in the Prep School. She was active in music ministry until her very last day, having proofread the liturgy planning sheet the day before her death.
Music may have been the choice ministry of Sr. Marie, but she was a model in so many other ways as well. Community involvement meant much to her. She was always early on days of webcasts, house meetings, parties and card games – never wanted to miss anything! She rolled silverware into the napkins for the annual bazaar, helped prepare fruit and vegetables from the garden, participated in exercises and holiday projects in the infirmary. She was serious in her study of Scripture and articles suggested by the community. She kept many journals of notes on Scripture, articles, and books she had read.
Sr. Marie had her health trials with falling and failing, and longed for the time when she could enter eternal life. She lived very simply, with very few things to distract her from her constant prayer for the Church, for the ills of the world, for souls she helped speed to heaven. She was faithful to her devotion to Dominican vowed life even though she often spoke of years of dryness in prayer. She was phenomenally courageous, always trying to increase her physical strength, learning to drive at age 65, and very intentional in developing her spirituality with good reading and many times for extended prayer. Her mind was so alert to the end that she was able to draw from her reserves of knowledge of sacred music to suggest a song or reading that would enhance our prayer times together, and we would swear she knew the Dominican calendar by heart. She was very high in our admiration of her. Whatever she did, she did with complete attention to the moment, whether it be aiming to win the card game or playing a piece on the organ or piano with one or both of her sisters.
The Liturgy of Christian burial for Sr. Marie was Wednesday, May 27, 2015, and the Scriptural Vigil the night before on May 26. Burial was in the Dominican Sisters Resurrection Cemetery. All the services were held at the Motherhouse of the Dominican Sisters of Peace in Great Bend, Kansas.
Memorials in honor of Sr. Marie Klein may be submitted securely online or be mailed to Dominican Sisters of Peace, Office of Mission Advancement, 2320 Airport Dr, Columbus OH 43219-2098.
Obituary by Sr. Elaine Osborne, OP
Read the Wake Service Reflection offered by Sr. Rose Mary Stein, OP