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Mary Elizabeth Keyser, 98, Maryknoll Sister For 80 Years

Sister Mary Elizabeth Keyser
Sister Mary Elizabeth Keyser Photo Credit: Provided

Sister Mary Elizabeth Keyser, 98, died on Tuesday, July 24 at the Maryknoll Sisters Center in Ossining.

She had been a Maryknoll Sister for 80 years.

A Mass of Christian Burial will take place at 11 a.m. on Friday, July 27 in the Main Chapel at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, 10 Pinesbridge Road, Ossining. Interment will follow in the Maryknoll Sisters Cemetery on the Center grounds.

Mary Elizabeth was born in Philadelphia, PA, on May 3, 1920, to Della (Haney) Keyser and Henry Nelson Keyser. She has two surviving relatives: her brother, Nelson Keyser, and her niece, Mary Jane Robinson.

In 1937, Mary Elizabeth graduated from West Philadelphia Catholic Girls High School in Philadelphia, PA.

She entered the Maryknoll Sisters Novitiate in Ossining on Dec. 7, 1937 from St. Matthias Parish in Bala Cynwyd, PA in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.  In 1943, after making her final vows, Sister Mary Elizabeth was assigned to San Juan Bautista, CA, where she did catechetical work.

In 1949, Sister Mary Elizabeth received her first overseas mission assignment to Bolivia, South America. Upon her arrival, she studied Spanish and served as principal of the Maryknoll Sisters Schools in both Cochabamba and Riberalta until 1956.

For two years, she was assigned to Bethany House, also known as Maryknoll Sisters Nursing Home, also in Ossining, where she provided aid to elderly Sisters and often assisted with transportation needs.

She returned to the Maryknoll Sisters Center in 1958, for Congregational Service in the Development Department doing promotion in the Midwest.

In 1959, she was assigned to Chile where she served as executive secretary, supervisor of Catechetics and established programs for the ICLA (Instituto de Catequesis Latino American). In addition, she served as the directress of Carmelite House of Prayer in Santiago and was the coordinator of the Maryknoll Sisters House in the Chile region until 1992.

Sister Mary Elizabeth then was assigned to Monrovia, CA, where she worked as a volunteer in religious education in the Immaculate Conception Parish and served as RCIA director of Hispanics for the parish from 1998-2001. She also spent a considerable amount of time doing volunteer work by writing letters to women in prison.

In 2004, Sister Mary Elizabeth returned to Ossining to retire at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, where she remained until her death. A Vespers service was held on Thursday afternoon, July 26 in the Main Chapel at the Maryknoll Sisters Center in Ossining.

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