Sister Maria (Vincent) Larkin, OSB, March 22, 1928 – May 25, 2021, 93, a Benedictine sister of Mount St. Scholastica, Atchison, Kan., died Tuesday, May 25, 2021, at the monastery. A vigil was held on June 6 in St. Scholastica Chapel. A funeral Mass was held June 7 in St. Scholastica Chapel.
Sister Maria Larkin was born in Denver, Colo., on March 22, 1928, to Myrtle and Vincent Larkin. She worked at the U.S. Bureau of Agriculture and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation before entering the Mount community in 1951. She made her perpetual profession on August 15, 1955. In her early years she taught at a number of elementary schools in Kansas. A lover of languages, Sister Maria spent most of her life teaching French and Spanish at the Mount Academy and Benedictine College. She studied in Mexico, Peru, Colombia, France, and at Princeton and Cornell University. She also was a missionary in Peru for three years. After her retirement, she earned local and national recognition for her ministry at the local jail, which continued into her 90s. In addition to providing Scripture aids, holding discussions, translating and receiving prayer requests, she stayed in touch with many former prisoners, offering them support and inspiration.
Sister Maria was preceded in death by her parents, brother Billy, and sisters Norma Nicodemo and Stella Larkin. She is survived by her sisters, Lois Ann Anthony, Denver, Colo; Sister Marcelle Larkin, Washington, D.C.; Nancy Kraemer (Ben), Orland, Cal.; and Charla Larkin, Leawood, Kan., nieces and nephews, and her monastic family. Becker-Dyer-Stanton Funeral Home (www.beckerdyer.com) is in charge of arrangements. Memorials may be sent to Mount St. Scholastica or made online at the Mount’s web site (www.mountosb.org).
Vigil for Sister Maria Larkin
Reflection by Sister Barb Conroy, OSB | June 6, 2021
I extend my sympathy to Sr. Maria’s sisters (Charla, Sister Marcelle, Nancy and Lois Ann), other family members, friends, students and the Mount community.
The Spirit of the Lord God was truly in the heart of Sr. Maria. Maria was a unique, fun loving and gracious lady. She touched the hearts of many persons who now grieve her death.
Bonnie Haghirian, graduate of Mount St Scholastica Academy in 1970, wrote to Maria. “In high school at the Mount, and in my adult years as an Oblate, I have always admired you and your beautiful grace. In the Academy the rumor was that you had been a model before coming to the community. You seemed to float in your long black habit, and we weren’t for sure that your feet ever touched the floor! That grace of movement has never changed.”
Just as each of us can attest to the way Maria floated in and out of our lives, we are very aware that she proclaimed liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners. Maria, as St Paul stated, carried Christ to many prisoners. The life of Jesus was made visible in her mortal flesh. Throughout the pandemic year, Maria received daily mail from men she had met in the Atchison jail and who are now scattered throughout the United States. She sowed the seeds of her faith and let the light of Christ shine to make others feel as blessed and grateful as she was.
St Matthew’s gospel proclaims, “Come to me, all you who are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Maria’s journey throughout the pandemic was challenging for her. However, she taught me many lessons about life that I would like to share with you.
-Always keep in contact with those you love
-Be faithful to prayer
-Put the needs of everyone else first
-Be a witness of Christ’s love
-Always be a cheerful giver
Finally, accept your burden whatever it may be with all humility and gentleness. Maria taught me how to die gracefully with an accepting heart. Being at her side during her last weeks of life was a gift. She accepted the truth and immediately started to share with me what I could do to ease the sorrow for those whom she loved. I even received instructions about the care of the crows in the turtle patio.
Rest in Peace, Sister Maria.