Sister Mary Kathryn Taylor
May 7, 1927 – May 12, 2023
Sister Mary Kathryn (Mary Kevin) Taylor, OSB, 96, a Benedictine sister of Mount St. Scholastica, Atchison, Kans., died Friday, May 12, 2023, at the monastery. The vigil service was held on Tuesday, May 16, at 7 p.m. in the monastery chapel; and the Mass of Resurrection was celebrated there Wednesday, May 17, at 10:30 a.m.
Born on May 7, 1927, in Kansas City, Mo., Sister Mary Kathryn was the oldest of three children of Leo and Theresa Knoll Taylor. After graduating from Lillis High School, Kansas City, Mo., she entered the Mount community in 1944. She held a B.S. in education from Mount St. Scholastica College and master’s degree in English from Creighton University, and a reading specialist certification from U.M.K.C. She taught in Colorado, Kansas, and Missouri, spending more than twenty years as an English teacher at St. Joseph High School in Shawnee and as a reading specialist at Sumner and Harmon High Schools in Kansas City. Highlights of this time for her were traveling to China with other Kansas teachers as part of an exchange program with teachers from Hunan and accompanying students to Europe as a chaperone. After caring for her aging parents for a number of years, she was a receptionist for a care home and then volunteered for the Little Sisters of the Poor before returning to the monastery.
Sister Mary Kathryn was preceded in death by her parents, her brother Leo Taylor and her sister Sister Joan Taylor, OSB, and is survived by her monastic family. Arensberg Pruett Funeral Home (www.arensbergpruett.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).
Reflection for the Vigil of Sister Mary Kathryn Taylor
Sister Barbara Conroy, OSB | May 16, 2023
Readings: Isaiah 25:6-10; Philippians 3:7-11; Matthew 25:34-40
On behalf of the sisters of Mount St. Scholastica, I extend our sympathy to Sr. Mary Kathryn’s family, friends, former students, and especially her close friend, Linda. We know you are grateful for her presence in your life and that you will miss her very much.
For 96 years, Sr Mary Kathryn waited to come face to face with her God. As the prophet Isaiah foretold, I am sure she is now rejoicing in his salvation. Joining her parents Leo and Theresa and her siblings Joan and Leo, she has now fully received the power of Christ’s resurrection and the kingdom prepared for her.
In 1946, 77 years ago, Mary Kathryn professed that she would seek God with this community of Mount St. Scholastica and see Christ in every person she encountered. She lived tonight’s Gospel, for she always placed others first and was concerned about their well-being more than her own. Mary Kathryn never knew a stranger, and there was not a need that was too big for her to address. Her warmth and her smile made everyone feel welcome. Many of us here tonight were a guest at the home of Mary Kathryn and her sister Joan, and they treated us as if we were royalty. Mary Kathryn enjoyed life and wanted everybody to feel worthy of God’s love.
Mary Kathryn had a great zest for life and welcomed new adventures. She enjoyed serving others both in the Kansas City area and abroad. A trip to China with some of her students opened her eyes to a completely different way of life and new ways in which she could serve. Following this trip, she and her sister Joan welcomed a Chinese family who needed a place to live until they were able to move out on their own into their home. Mary Kathryn’s motto seemed to be, “If there’s a will, there’s a way.”
I like to picture Mary Kathryn as a gentle giant. I am sure her stature was somewhat overwhelming to the many students she taught; however, her peaceful demeanor blossomed when she spoke. She genuinely cared for each person she encountered, overlooking their differences. She was known to threaten some of her high school students with a kiss if they didn’t behave, and she always let them know that she loved them.
Even in the past few years, Mary Kathryn always let us know how much she loved us. Each Dooley Center employee knew where they stood with Mary Kathryn. She greeted them with a kind word, a smile, or a nod of the head. She frequently asked, “How are you?” and enjoyed singing her favorite tunes with the staff, especially “You Are My Sunshine” and “I Love You a Bushel and a Peck.” Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did it to me.
Mary Kathryn had a deep faith and was very aware of God’s presence in her life. We would often see her reading a book from the library or sitting in St Lucy’s Chapel. Most recently, if she was really anxious, I would ask her if she would like to go to prayers with me, and she always said “Yes.” Her favorite chapel was right here — the Choir Chapel. The two of us would sit back here, and she would let the choir embrace her with the psalms. The last time we came, at the end of prayers she looked at me and said, “That was beautiful!”
Mary Kathryn truly shared in Christ’s sufferings. Her last few years as a resident in Dooley Center were very stressful for her. She really missed Joan and always wanted to go back to Kansas City. Even in her confusion, though, she still taught each of us many lessons. She enjoyed being with people and could always make us laugh by singing to us or making funny faces. She loved to take walks and took time to stop and share a few words with each person she met along the way. She was truly Christ to all those she met. May she rest in the joy and peace of her loving God.