Dominican Sister of Peace Mary Ellen (Florentine) Dater, OP, (90) died on January 25, 2022, at the Dominican Sisters of Peace Motherhouse in Great Bend, KS.
Sister Mary Ellen was one of seven siblings born to Otillia Kreutzer and August Dater in Antonino, KS. She applied to enter the Congregation at just 14 years of age, made first profession in 1948 and took her final vows in 1954. She dedicated herself to the Dominican Life and Mission for seventy-four years.
Sister Mary Ellen earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Saint Mary College in Leavenworth and ministered as a primary-school teacher in Colorado, Kansas, and Oklahoma for over forty years.
After a brief sabbatical, Sister Mary Ellen returned to school to earn certifications from the Myotherapy Institute in Salt Lake City and the John Barnes Institute in Pennsylvania, making her a certified massage therapist. She used this knowledge to begin a new ministry at the Congregation’s eco-ministry on Pawnee Rock, Kansas, Heartland Farm. She loved the farm, the work that she did there, and the many people who visited the farm in search of peace.
Sister Mary Ellen was a woman of many talents and interests. She enjoyed gardening, spinning Alpaca fleece into two-ply yarn, playing cards, bowling, and making noodles for the annual bazaar. She truly valued the work she did for the bazaar because of the community involved in the efforts and the communities – the Congregation’s mission in Nigeria and the poor in this country – that the Bazaar benefited.
Health issues made it necessary for Sr. Mary Ellen to move to the Great Bend Motherhouse in 2021, at the age of 90. During her final months, she served her community through a ministry of prayer, presence, and love.
Sister Mary Ellen was preceded in death by her parents and two sisters. She is survived by two brothers, two sisters, and several nieces and nephews.
Sr. Mary Ellen was celebrated at a wake on February 7, followed by the Mass of Christian Burial. Both were held in the Great Bend Motherhouse chapel. She was buried in the Sisters’ Resurrection Cemetery in Great Bend, KS.
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