BENEDICTINE SISTERS
OF THE SACRED HEART

1910 Maple Ave
Lisle, Il 60532

BYZANTINE BENEDICTINE
SISTERS

169 Kenmore Ave N.E. # 301
Warren, OH 44483

 

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Virginia Kallus, OSB

Reflection written by Sister Christine Kouba, OSB, and read by Sister Mary Bratrsovsky, OSB
2 Corinthians 9:6-14
Wake Service June 25, 2019

Consider this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have abundance for every good work. As it is written: "He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures forever." The one who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You are being enriched in every way for all generosity, which through us produces thanksgiving to God, for the administration of this public service is not only supplying the needs of the holy ones but is also overflowing in many acts of thanksgiving to God. Through the evidence of this service, you are glorifying God for your obedient confession of the gospel of Christ and the generosity of your contribution to them and to all others, while in prayer on your behalf they long for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

As scripture tells us, God loves a cheerful giver. Sister Virginia could not and would not be slowed down as she cheerfully loved to give. She was hospitable, always ready to offer food or coffee to the hungry Sisters, especially the Sick and even went out of her way for Guests, as St. Benedict would have it. It was in her personality to give without sadness or compulsion, for she knew that God loves a cheerful giver. She delighted to know that by supplying the needs of the body she was being enriched in every way to glorify God and she continued to overflow with many acts of thanksgiving to God who supplies the abundance.

Sister Virginia was born in LaGrange, Texas, on November 27, 1927, one of twelve children to Robert and Cecelia Kallus. When she was almost 18 years old and was discerning her vocation, she saw how happy her two sisters, Sister Andrea and Sister Mary Agnes were at Sacred Heart Monastery and thought she would like to join them. Interestingly, two additional Kallus sisters, Sisters Josephine and Angelica were also discerning their vocations and also wanted to follow their two sisters in Lisle. Then on April 13, 1944, all three sisters arrived together to join the Benedictine Community making a total of five Kallus Sisters at Sacred Heart Monastery from the same family.

After completing her novitiate period, Sister Virginia made her first vow profession on June 10, 1946. Soon after that she began her ministry and was assigned to work with young children at St. Joseph Orphanage in Lisle. Later her assignment brought her to St. Procopius College where she prepared breakfast for the sick Monks and Seminary Students. Her superior noticed that she would make a good teacher and asked her to study thereby completing her teaching degree at DePaul University. She taught primary age children in various schools where our Benedictine Sisters had schools, both in Illinois and in Texas. Her fondest memories were her nineteen years teaching first graders at St. Scholastica in Woodridge, Illinois. When Sister Virginia retired from teaching in 1989, she continued ministering and this time in our St. Walburga’s Care Center becoming a nursing assistant, helping to care for the sick and elderly Sisters. Sister Christine depended on her to be responsible and make sure that all the sick were comfortable when she was gone for other events. Our community really got to know Sister Virginia now that she was home and learned first-hand that she was a very generous person, cheerful and giving person.

When working in St. Walburga’s Care Center she frequently had the opportunity to visit the Residence in the Benedale Center. Many Residents from the Villa would join her then at reciting the Rosary at 4:00 p.m. Rosary time was a must for her arriving way before time and she was thrilled that so many Residents joined her. How devoted she was to the Blessed Mother.

Sister Virginia had a remarkable ability to Cantor ever since she entered the Community. Her voice was clear and beautiful. She could pick up tunes easily. She remained one of the most able cantors at Divine Office until she left for St. Patrick’s in January of this year, 2019. She treasured the Divine Office; always being there ahead of time and ready to pray and Cantor.

Due to her fall and fracture on January 6, 2019, she was transferred to St. Patrick’s Residence on January 13, 2019 and remained there until she was hospitalized with a stroke on June 12, 2019. However, while at St. Patrick’s, in spite of her dementia, her goal was to continue serving and since Sister Regina Ann was her roommate, she always wanted to make sure “Reggie” had her breakfast and of course, her coffee. Even at St. Patrick’s, Sister Virginia insisted that the Rosary should be said at 4:00 p.m. Thanks to Sister Kathleen who obliged to provide that time for the other Residence to join them in reciting the Rosary. Sister Kathleen also found hand work for Sister to allow her energetic personality to be productive. Our Benedictine Community is very grateful to the Carmelite Sisters and staff at St. Patrick’s for welcoming Sister Virginia into their home and tactfully make her comfortable in a new environment.

Because her stroke on June 12th debilitated her completely, she was brought home to the Monastery to die. Her last days were blest as the Sisters visited her regularly during the day and night. On her final day, Saturday, June 22nd it became obvious that the Lord was coming very soon to take her to her final home. As the evening and night grew on, more Sisters were assembling, singing hymns of praise, thanksgiving and petition that God would receive her as God had promised so that she would be rewarded in her hope. At 10:45 p.m. She breathed her last breath in peace with a gentle smile on her face. We knew her soul was in God’s merciful hands.

We will remember Sister Virginia Kallus for her devotion to the Divine Office, to Mass and to the Rosary and there was that rubber-banded book of private prayers which she carried around to remember her loved ones in prayer.

We thank you, Sister Virginia, you were an indescribable gift. Enjoy your family and friends in Heaven and pray for the Sisters in your Community still here on earth. Until we meet again- Thanks!

The Homily by Fr. Becket, OSB
Mass of Christian Burial June 16, 2019

Sister Virginia shared not only the name of the Blessed Virgin Mary, but she also shared in the life and ministry of the Mother of God.

The Book of Revelation tells us that those who share in God’s life receives God’s grace: things like, springs of living water….everlasting life…all things made new…and, the gift of becoming God’s daughter and God’s son.

The sensitive generosity and the frenetic ministry of Sister Virginia’s demonstrates the salvation we all in need in our world. Last night, we heard at the vigil service that the nineteen years of teaching first graders at St. Scholastica Parish were the best years of her life. What patience, what kindness, what love and what a commitment she made to the children. Moreover, up to the time of her stroke, who among us did not witness her important daily task to keep busy about the kingdom, whether it was food and drink for those in need, comfort for those in pain, and dirty statues begging for a clean cloth? It is because she shared in the life and ministry of the Mother of God.

Jesus says, “In my Father’s house, there are many dwelling places…I go and prepare a place for you.” Interesting that Sister Virginia ministered to prepare that heavenly place for us here on earth. While she was busy about many things in the kingdom, she was always faithful to the liturgy, not only in attendance but also vocally in her cantoring. Music and singing, yes, but there is one thing Sister Virginia objected to at the liturgy: incense. During my first year as chaplain, some twenty years ago, probably around August 15, as I cleaned up the chapel, Sister Virginia hovered walking back and forth. As I proceeded to leave, she walked up to me and said, “You know, a few people don’t like all that incense.” I smiled and said, “Thank you, sister.”

Last night the Prioress thanked Sister Virginia for her ministry among us. As we move towards Holy Communion, we recall the many gifts granted her by God. They were many because, in my opinion, she shared in the name, life and ministry of the Mother of God.

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon her. May she rest in peace! Amen. May all the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.

From the Archives
LBW December 2006

Sister Mary Virginia Kallus was born in LaGrange, Texas, one of twelve children of Robert and Cecelia Kallus. Two of Sister Virginia’s sisters were already at Sacred Heart Monastery when she decided, at 18, to enter the community. Two additional Kallus sisters joined her after their own personal discernment so that eventually five Kallus girls came to Sacred Heart Monastery.

Sister Virginia began her ministry work with young children at the orphanage and then moved to St. Procopius College prepared breakfast for the sick. She completed a degree at DePaul University and moved into teaching. She taught elementary age children in a variety of schools in and around Chicago and even spent a few years teaching in Texas. Her fondest memories are her nineteen years teaching first graders at St. Scholastica in Woodridge, Illinois.

Sister Virginia retired from teaching and took on various duties in the Sisters’ infirmary, where she continues to minister today. She enjoys the opportunity to visit the Sisters’ neighbors in Benedale Center, the assisted living unit of Villa St. Benedict.

Sister’s pastimes include walks around the monastery grounds, dominos and cards. She welcomes time with the Lord in private prayer and looks forward to the daily recitation of the Divine Office. She finds the psalms to be a great source of strength and energy and daily mass culminates her love for God.

Sister Virginia hopes for and dreams of the continuation of the Benedictine Charism of prayer and work in community. She hopes to see the Sisters’ ministry to the elderly at Villa St. Benedict grow. Sister wishes the LBW readers a blessed Christmas. She would like everyone to know that they are remembered in the Sisters’ daily prayers and that the Sisters appreciate all that their friends and families do for the community.