Little Falls, Minnesota............ Sister Mary Lou Eltgroth, age 87, died on March 31, 2022, at St. Francis Convent, Little Falls, Minn.
Mary Louise Eltgroth was born on September 10, 1934, in West Union, Minn., the oldest of five children born to the late Louis and Emma (Rosonke) Eltgroth. Growing up on a farm, both indoor and outdoor chores were a part of Mary Lou's daily life. Her early education took place in a one-room school, and her early religious education consisted of Saturday morning classes with the pastor teaching the Baltimore Catechism to all age groups at one time! This religious education was supplemented by family prayer and instruction at home.
Mary Lou attended St. Francis High School in Little Falls, entering the Franciscan Community during her senior year. Upon entrance into the novitiate, she received the religious name of Sister Mary Justin. She made her final vows on August 12, 1958. Sister Mary Lou returned to her baptismal name in 1967. She was a Franciscan Sister for 68 years.
Sister Mary Lou prepared to become an elementary school teacher, receiving her bachelor's degree from the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, Minn., and a master's degree from the University of Minnesota. Sister Mary Lou dedicated almost 50 years to the education of youth in the Diocese of St. Cloud and the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis. Wherever she was, Sister Mary Lou's ministry extended from the classroom into the parish and surrounding community.
On her retirement from teaching, she devoted her energies to ministries in the Little Falls area including the Clothes Review, teaching English to immigrants, reading to first graders at Lindbergh School, and serving on various boards and committees. She also volunteered in various departments at the convent. In 2009 she received the Volunteer of the Year Award from the Little Falls Chamber of Commerce in recognition of her many years as volunteer with the Arts and Crafts Fair and the Paint-a-thon. Ministry with the Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) began in 1997 and included several terms as Regional Spiritual Assistant. She loved the reading and studying of Franciscan writings and scripture, all of which enhanced her prayer life.
Mary Lou's ready smile and a special greeting to all, from the UPS driver to elderly residents from Alverna Apartments with whom she shared a game of cribbage, brightened everyone's day. She enjoyed crafts, especially weaving palms. Her palm "fish" were always treasured and appreciated by the recipients. Physical disability never hindered her in reaching out to others, as she continued to visit homebound elderly and sick wherever they lived. She valued developing strong personal relationships. Family was very important to her and gatherings of the Eltgroth clan at the farm were high points in her life. Travels with her family brought her many treasured memories.
Sister Mary Lou was preceded in death by her parents and brother-in-law Karl Samuelson. Survivors include siblings: Nicholas (Nancy), Cohasset; Richard (Louise), Sauk Centre; Cecilia Samuelson, Kandiyohi; Rita, Sauk Centre; nieces and nephews; and her Franciscan Community.
A Mass of Christian Burial will take place at St. Francis Convent on Saturday, May 7, 2022, at 11 a.m. Friends may call at St. Francis Convent on Friday, May 6, 2022, from 4-8 p.m., with a Franciscan prayer service at 7 p.m., and from 9 a.m. until the time of the funeral on Saturday at 11 a.m. Masks are required.
Mass will be livestreamed on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/FSLFvideos/featured
Arrangements are by Emblom-Brenny Funeral Service Little Falls.
Donations to Franciscan Sisters ministries preferred.