January 14, 1930 – June 22, 2023
Sister Betty McKenzie was a faithful friend, avid reader and ever-present advocate for women and the wounded. This relentless, tenacious, and passionate promoter of peace, was born on January 14, 1930, to Bernard and Frances (Stauffer) McKenzie, in Rochester, Minnesota, and died peacefully in the early morning of June 22, 2023, at Carondelet Village in St. Paul.
Elizabeth Anne entered the community of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in 1949. In 1958, she received a bachelor of arts in history from the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, and later a master’s in geography from Mankato State University (1970). Sister Betty’s early career was spent teaching in schools across Minnesota: at St. Patrick, St. John, St. Luke, Nativity of our Lord and Highland Catholic in St. Paul; St. Michael in Stillwater; St. Peter in Richfield; and St. Lawrence and DeLaSalle in Minneapolis.
After more than 25 years of teaching, Sister Betty joined the staff at the College of St. Catherine, where she spent the next nine years working in the bursar’s office. From there, her efforts were spent teaching English as a Second Language for the Lao Family Center in St. Paul’s Frogtown neighborhood.
Much of her life was spent as a peacekeeper and social activist, particularly with the Honeywell Project, as a member of Peace House, Veterans for Peace, Women Against Military Madness, protesting at Alliant Techsystems in the Twin Cities and most passionately protesting to close the School of the Americas (SOA) in Fort Benning, Georgia. By her living witness and consequence of this work, Sister Betty hoped to compel and change the hearts of those in power and inspire all others to act, speak out, and work for peace.
Sister Betty is preceded in death by her parents, brother Robert and sister Dorothy (Heinlein) McKenzie. She is survived by nieces and nephews; grandnieces and nephews; many dear friends; and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and Consociates.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Wednesday, July 19, at 11:00 a.m., in Our Lady of the Presentation Chapel, 1880 Randolph Avenue, St. Paul, with burial following at Resurrection Cemetery in Mendota Heights. Memorials are preferred to the Sisters of St. Joseph Ministries Foundation.
Dear Betty, rest in love and peace.