SISTER MARICÉ ELVEKROG, SSND Sister Maricé Elvekrog, 84, died peacefully at 6:09 a.m. on August 19, 2022, in Notre Dame Health Care, Our Lady of Good Counsel, Mankato, Minnesota. Sisters were praying with her in the days before her death. Due to a serious illness, Sister Maricé had moved from Cambridge, Minnesota, to Notre Dame Health Care in August 2021.
The funeral Mass for Sister Maricé was on Monday, August 29, 2022, in the Good Counsel Chapel with Father Eugene Stenzel as presider. A prayer of remembrance preceded the funeral, and her cremains were buried in the Good Counsel cemetery. She is survived by her brother and sister-in-law, Dr. Maurice and Jan Elvekrog, nieces and nephews, and her sisters in community, the School Sisters of Notre Dame and SSND Associates. She was preceded in death by her parents, Olaf and Margaret (Albrecht) Elvekrog.
On November 15, 1937, Sister Maricé was born in Ebenezer Hospital in Madison, Minnesota. Her father, Olaf Elvekrog, was born in Norway and, as a young man, came to the United States where he met and married her mother, Margaret Albrecht, in 1935. They named their first child Maurice. On November 28, 1937, their second child was baptized at St. Michael Church in Madison and given the name Dorothy Marie. In her autobiography, Dorothy wrote: “At the age of ‘almost five,’ Dad took his ‘big girl’ to Madison Public School for kindergarten.” The next year, she began attending St. Michael Catholic School where her teachers were School Sisters of Notre Dame. She made her First Holy Communion in 1944, but soon after, her father became seriously ill and asked to be baptized and receive his First Holy Communion. He died of cancer in March 1945. Her autobiography continues: “After things settled down, Mom took a daytime job, Maurice became the ‘head of the house,’ and I was given the office of ‘chief cook and bottle washer.’” After graduating from the eighth grade at St. Michael School, Dorothy attended Good Counsel Academy in Mankato where she was an aspirant for four years. She entered the SSND candidature in 1955 to prepare for her life as a School Sister of Notre Dame. Dorothy was received into the congregation and given the name, Sister Maricé, on July 16, 1956, and professed her religious vows on July 17, 1957. Sister Maricé then continued her undergraduate study at the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul for one year before beginning 48 years of ministry in the field of education by teaching third grade at St. Agnes School in St. Paul (1958-1959). During the next ten years, she taught elementary or junior high students at St. Clara in Clara City (1959-1962), St. John in Mankato (1962-1963), St. Michael in Morgan (1963-1965), St. Peter in Forest Lake (1965-1967), St. Mary in Shakopee (1967-1968), and St. Francis Xavier in Sartell (1968-1969), all in Minnesota. From 1969 until 1977, she taught at Don Bosco High School in Gilbertville, Iowa. Sister Maricé graduated from Mount Mary College (now Mount Mary University) with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Mathematics in 1968. She earned her master’s degree in Education from the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls in 1976 and studied administration at the University of San Francisco during the following year. This was followed by service as assistant superintendent at Trinity High School in Dickinson, North Dakota (1977-1978), and John XXIII Middle School and Cathedral High School in St. Cloud (1978-1981). She then became the principal at St. Mary’s School in Alexandria, Minnesota (1981-1983). Following a year of personal renewal, Sister Maricé was appointed Associate Director for School Instructional Services in the diocese of LaCrosse (1984-1986). She then served as principal at Blessed Sacrament School in Sioux City, Iowa (1986-1987). This was followed by her ministry in the diocese of Joliet, Illinois, where she assumed the duties of Assistant Superintendent for Teacher Development (1987-1989) and Associate Superintendent of Schools (1989-1993). In 1993, Sister Maricé accepted the position of Superintendent for Catholic Schools in the diocese of Alexandria, Louisiana (1993-2006). After Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, the schools of this diocese, which is located approximately 200 miles northwest of New Orleans, took in 585 displaced students without asking for tuition, fees, or required uniforms. In an article entitled “Lots of Love,” Sister Maricé wrote: “Across the whole nation SSNDs, their families, their friends, and the students they taught put into practice the gospel values that we have always taught. Aid poured in from all parts of the United States and even from Germany. Soon our displaced students had books, desks, uniforms, and a lot of love. Students from other states wrote letters, sent homemade cards, and raised money for the ‘Katrina students.’ Every donation to the Katrina student fund was directly traceable to an SSND connection.” In addition to professional educational organizations, Sister Maricé was also involved in the American Cancer Society, the Chamber of Commerce, county historical societies, and parish councils. She was an avid reader and had a wide range of interests. Her excellent sewing and needlework skills were also used in designing and making liturgical vestments as well as costumes for local theatre groups. She enjoyed travel and was always eager to learn new things. Upon the completion of her educational ministry in 2006, Sister Maricé moved to Cambridge, Minnesota, where she ministered in various capacities at Christ the King Parish until August 2021. She was known for her graciousness and kindness, especially toward those who were elderly or in need of assistance. On the 60th anniversary of her religious profession in 2017, Sister Maricé wrote: “God has been very good to me, and it has been my prayer and joy ‘to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.’” Her prayer and joy are now fulfilled.