Sister Mary of the Precious Blood of Jesus, OCD, dies at 64
ARLINGTON — Sister Mary of the Precious Blood of Jesus, OCD, lived her life performing acts of love and service for her family of origin, for her Carmelite family, and for Jesus. She passed away peacefully on March 29, 2022, surrounded by her Carmelite family in the Monastery of the Most Holy Trinity in Arlington.
“You don’t meet a lot of souls like Sister Mary,” Mother Teresa Agnes of Jesus Crucified, OCD, told the North Texas Catholic. “She was truly His bride.”
On July 5, 1957, Stella and Eugene Krzyzanowski welcomed their daughter Mary Krzyzanowski into the world in Przemyśl, Poland. “She lived very close to … a shrine to Our Lady,” said Mother Teresa Agnes. “From early on she had a very close devotion to our Lord and our Lady…. She used to make these beautiful books. She’d get a composition book and she’d fill them with all these holy cards and prayer cards.”
When Mary Krzyzanowski was eight years old, her family relocated to Chicago, Illinois during the tumultuous 1960s. As the most fluent in English, Mary Krzyzanowski was the family’s translator — attending parent-teacher conferences, medical appointments, and helping her family navigate immigrant life in the United States.
Krzyzanowski grew up alongside her two sisters and four of her brothers (one of the five boys died in infancy). The Krzyzanowskis brought up their children in the Catholic faith and taught them about their Polish heritage. Mary Krzyzanowski remained bilingual throughout her life, even teaching the Carmelites Polish during her last days.
Krzyzanowski graduated first from St. Francis of Assisi Catholic grade school, then Holy Family Academy Catholic High School — the same high school attended by Mother Anne Teresa of Jesus, OCD. Holy Family Academy was run by the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth, an order founded in Poland. Perhaps because of Mother Anne Teresa’s Carmelite vocation, the sisters directed Krzyzanowski to consider the Carmelite monastery in Fort Worth. After graduating, Krzyzanowski worked a few months as a substitute teacher. She visited her relatives in Poland one last time, then entered the Carmelite monastery in Fort Worth on November 1, 1975. Mother Anne Teresa was Krzyzanowski’s novice mistress.
When she received her habit in 1976, Krzyzanowski was given her religious name: Sister Mary of the Precious Blood of Jesus. “She had great devotion to the Precious Blood of Jesus,” Mother Teresa Agnes said.
Both at the monastery in Fort Worth and after the Sisters moved to their new Arlington monastery, Sister Mary showed love through simple acts. “She was always willing to take over dishwasher duties,” said Mother Teresa Agnes. “She’d just do the humblest tasks, cleaning, no matter what it was, she would do with great joy, so much like St. Thérèse.”
Sister Mary’s responsibilities included the gentle care of her fellow Carmelites. She sewed beautiful habits, baked altar bread, did laundry, and spent much time in the kitchen.
Through these simple acts, Sister Mary exemplified these words from St. Thérèse’s autobiography, Story of a Soul: “So my Beloved, shall my short life be spent in Your sight. I can prove my love only by scattering flowers, that is to say, by never letting slip a single little sacrifice, a single glance, a single word; by making profit of the very smallest actions, by doing them all for love.”
Sister Mary also continued to love her family of origin, corresponding frequently with relatives both in Chicago and Poland.
“[Her family members] have this treasure of 47 years’ worth of beautiful cards, and they’d include spiritual messages and spiritual bouquets,” Mother Teresa Agnes said. “She’d do all this work so simply.”
At age 64, Sister Mary endured the death of Mother Anne Teresa. A few months later, Sister Mary herself received an unexpected diagnosis: advanced multiple myeloma. Some of her family members visited her during her final weeks.
Sister Mary was preceded in death by Mother Anne Teresa, her brother Andrew (who died in infancy), her parents Stella and Eugene Krzyzanowski, and her sister Regina Baker. She is survived by the rest of the Carmelite community in Arlington, as well as by her sister Gracie, her brothers Chester, Ted, Casey, and Arthur, her sister-in-law Donna, and many extended family members.