Monasteries of the Heart

Old Monk's Journal: In Loving Memory of Old Monk

On January 6, 2023, the feast of the Epiphany, Mary Lou Kownacki, OSB, passed from this life to the next surrounded by her Benedictine community and family members. Sister Mary Lou was a Benedictine Sister of Erie for more than sixty years, and in that capacity graced the world as a visionary, an activist, a poet, a prophet, a lover of children and of the poor. Her radical commitment to the Gospel drove Sister Mary Lou to spend her entire monastic life promoting nonviolence, creativity, and reverence for those most marginalized. Above all, Mary Lou was a loyal friend and sister who loved generously. She led innumerable people to believe in, and experience, peace and beauty. For those of us in the Monasteries of the Heart community, she was known best and admired most as Old Monk. Old Monk's journal was consistently among our most popular features at Monasteries of the Heart and over the years, it was her teaching that empowered us to form the community we are today.

Please join us in praying with great thanksgiving for the gift of Sister Mary Lou’s life and work. Please share your own commemoration of Mary Lou with all of us, her Monasteries of the Heart community.

Read her full obituary and prayer card here. 

To view or make comments you must be logged in to Monasteries of the Heart. If you are not yet a member, you can create a free membership account at now. A real person authenticates each new member account to avoid spam accounts so you will not have immediate access. As soon as your account is verified you will receive an email with further instructions.

A blog by Mary Lou Kownacki
A personal journal captures what’s in the heart. Most of my adult life I’ve recorded my notes, brief reflections, poems, reactions to daily events in a journal. It is an ongoing source of monastic formation; the rich and raw material of life that helps shape my Monastery of the Heart. About a year ago, Old Monk began to appear on my journal’s pages. Mary Lou Kownacki, OSB, is the Monasteries of the Heart coordinator.

Previous Posts Posted