Sister Mary Kay Henry, OSB was born into eternal life at 1:40 a.m. on December 22, 2010 following a four-and-a-half-year journey with cancer. She took her last breath among her Sisters at her beloved home, the Monastery of St. Gertrude.
The daughter of George and Florence Henry, she entered this life on July 24, 1941 and was baptized Mary Katherine on August 20, 1943. The second of six children, she grew up on a cattle and sheep ranch in Bill, Wyoming. She recognized the calling to a religious life very early and entered St. Gertrude’s on August 15, 1955 at the age of 14, making her First Profession in 1959. She celebrated her Golden Jubilee in 2009.
Sister Mary Kay attended Marillac College in St. Louis and Mundelein College in Chicago. At Mundelein, she studied with professor of cosmology Dr. Brian Swimme, who declared to Sister Mary Kay, “Woman, there is fire in you and if you choose not to use it, the whole world will be poorer.” From then on, she said her decision was “to be about the big, not the puny. My fire is needed and if I hoard it, someone will be cold.”
She continually declared that her religious life challenged her to ministries beyond what she ever could have imagined. She was a classroom teacher at St. Mary’s, Boise; St. Paul’s, Nampa; St. Nicholas, Rupert; St. Maurus, Ferdinand; St. Anthony, Greencreek; St. Joseph’s and Prairie Middle School, Cottonwood, and Sacred Heart, Boise. She served as a religious education director and/or pastoral associate at St. Paul’s, Nampa; Our Lady of the Rosary, Boise; Our Lady of Lourdes, Lewiston, and Assumption Parish, Spokane. She served as St. Gertrude’s Director of Formation in 1988-89 and was Director of Retreat Ministry in 1990-1991. Sister Mary Kay was elected Prioress in 1993 and at the end of her six-year term, became director of the Monastery’s development office.
Sister Mary Kay Henry is survived by the Benedictine Sisters of the Monastery of St. Gertrude and her siblings: Virginia Toole, Rosalie Galik, Mike Henry, Jim Henry and Patrick Henry.