Sister Mary Elizabeth Keyser

I was often deeply moved by the spiritual searching and the longing for apostolic involvement of very simple people”

mekeyser_lgSister Mary Elizabeth has spent many years of her missionary life in Latin America, Chile and Bolivia in the fields of education and catechetic. Sister Mary Elizabeth, born in Philadelphia, PA, entered the Maryknoll Sisters in 1937 from St. Matthias parish, Philadelphia. After her first profession of vows, she worked at parishes in San Juan, CA, and in Bethany, NY, for four years.

Then, Sister Mary Elizabeth was assigned in 1947 to Bolivia, where she served for nine years as a religious educator, a teacher, a parish pastoral worker, and a good friend of the children in Cochabamba, Bolivia. When she was superior of the Cochabamba mission, she often took “time out” to entertain her little friends with her well-used Aeolian accordion.

In 1959, Sister Mary Elizabeth moved to Chile. She was involved in various mission fields such as religious education, supervision for teachers and religious educators, administration, pastoral ministry, and coordination of prayer houses. Sister Mary Elizabeth was deeply inspired by a Chilean woman, Silvia, who was a widow with nine small children. She earned her living and supported them by working as a housemaid. Silvia was so enthusiastic to share her faith that she became a catechist and a leader of a Scripture reflection community.

So Sister Mary Elizabeth became involved with catechetical instruction of children and adults. She also helped found two houses of prayer and served as a director of a Carmelite House of Prayer in Santiago. She also was executive secretary of the Latin American catechetical Institute (ICLA: Instituto de Catequesis Latino America) for three years.

After 60 years of vibrant mission work, Sister Mary Elizabeth was assigned to the Maryknoll Sisters retirement house in Monrovia, CA. She also became actively involved with immigrants and their spiritual journey, working with Spanish-speaking catechists in parish program, guiding bible reflection for women group in Spanish, and creating artwork for religious education.

Since 2004, Sister Mary Elizabeth has been a member of the Chi Rho community at the Maryknoll Sisters Center and her ministry continues with faithful prayers for God’s Mission.

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