Sister Constance "Connie" Krstolic
My home town is Kansas City, Kansas, and yes, I am a “Dotte” originally from Wyandotte County.
I am an only child who enjoyed many cousins, aunts and uncles, there were many activities that called us all together as family. I am grateful!
Growing up on Strawberry Hill, the Croatian ethic neighbor brought with it much pride. At St. John the Baptist parish , we sang the Croatian songs, danced the dances, bowled in “The Club” under the school, learned to cook the Croatian dishes….we definitely were a community, a faith community, a fun-loving community. On each block, it seemed, there was a ‘mom & pop” grocery story catering to the ethic foods of that particular area of THE HILL.
I attended Loretto Academy, in KC,MO because Bishop Ward, the catholic high school nearby was overflowing with students. So much so, there were triple shifts at the school. This was a simple invitation for the Missouri catholic schools to recruit students. I graduated from Loretto in 1962
After Loretto, I wanted to attended college. I learned of this particular junior college called Donnelly College founded in 1949 by the Benedictine Sisters of Atchison Kansas . It was a unique college where their philosophy was “ to provide the opportunity for higher education to those who otherwise would not have it.” At Donnelly, classes were over by noon meaning that having a job for “college money” was easier to attain than by working until 6pm somewhere in the city.
I graduated from Donnelly in 1964….it was onto KU during the turbulent 60s where I found myself caught up in student leadership and the events of the era.
I needed to work my way through college. While at Donnelly, worked at Macy’s in advertising. It was there in this particular department that I learned how to evangelize….I could sell you Jesus! I learned how to invite you to see yourself in a particular dress….in a particular life-style.
In 1967, I returned to my love at Donnelly, the sisters, their prayer life….and entered Mount St. Scholastica. These, too, were turbulent times in the church. Vatican II was opening new doors……and I was walking through them.
Teaching was my first ministry: Junior High in St. Joe, MO; Bishop Lillie High school, Bishop Hogan, High, KC,MO, inner city schools …. It was there that the prioress asked if I would be our community’s vocation minister. That I was for 9 years. A very holy time indeed journeying with women who did enter our community . Helping them try on the invitation of Jesus to become a Benedictine sister.
Eventually, that ole evangelization trait pulled up again and I found myself in the corporate world working with realtors of various companies, preaching retreats through the U.S in catholic as well as non-catholic congregations and religious communities. Eventually, coming back to the Mount working in Mission effectiveness with our employees and going full circle back to Donnelly as liaison between our community and Donnelly.
An honor which warmed my heart, was being one of the 2010 inaugural inductees into the Donnelly College Alumni Hall of Fame.
It was then, in 2011, that my prioress asked if I would serve as her sub-prioress….to serve my sisters in their needs. I agreed and served in this compactly for 6 years.
I had come full circle…..I was home.
Yet….what to do to relax……cook….cook Croatian dishes using my mom’s recipes and inviting my sisters to enjoy….which they do……ahhhhh…..home…..nothing like it.