A Hero of the Cross Born in Russia

Sister M. Ehrentrude was born in 1901 in Crimea (Sudak) Russia.  Her father, Anthony Czyzewski, was an officer in the army, and her mother, Helen Carol Kotkas, was a housewife.  Mary grew up in South Bend, Indiana.  The family was a member of Saint Hedwig Parish, and Mary attended the parish school. 

Mary Magdalen entered the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross in 1918 and received the Holy Habit on August 4, taking the religious name Sister M. Ehrentrude.  She pronounced her first vows on August 15, 1920 and her final vows on August 15, 1923. The Czyzewski family of South Bend, Indiana contributed many sons and a daughter to the Congregations of Holy Cross. 

In 1924, she graduated from Saint Mary’s Academy, Notre Dame, Indiana and then attended two years of college at Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana, receiving a two-year Normal Certificate in 1926.

Sister Ehrentrude was assigned to be an elementary school teacher and was an excellent teacher for twenty years.   She taught in Catholic parish schools in South Bend, Indiana; Los Angeles and Fresno, California; Boise, Idaho and East Chicago, Indiana.  All of these schools benefitted from her presence.   Her ill health prevented her from continuing as a teacher, so she served as portress at Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana and Saint Theodore’s in Chicago, Illinois.  In 1945, Sister Ehrentrude became a citizen of the United States.   She retired to Saint Mary’s Convent in 1964 and served in many capacities until her death September 8,1987.  

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