Marilyn & Al Kruger
Accidental Adventurers and Partners in Mission
Marilyn Brissett Kruger of St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin, has had a life-long connection to the Sisters of the Presentation. “My mother and several of her sisters were taught by Presentation Sisters at St. Vincent Academy (now St. Columbkille School in Dubuque) in the early 1900s. So I guess you could say the spirit, the work and the life of the Presentation community has been with me since birth.”
Marilyn smiles as she fondly remembers her early experiences growing up with the Presentation Sisters in Northeast Iowa. “Sister Helen Marie Feeney was principal of St. Patrick School in Waukon, Iowa, in the ‘50s. In those days, class excursions were rare (the Sodality convention in Milwaukee, trips to see Shakespeare dramas at Loras College in Dubuque). Before each of these outings, as a reminder to mind our manners, Sister would say to us, ‘Remember that when you are on a school field trip, you are Presentation products.’” Marilyn has never forgotten those words nor the positive influence the Presentation Sisters have had in her life.
The connections to the Sisters of the Presentation run deep for Marilyn as an alumna, a former member of the Presentation community, a blood sister of Sister Anne McCormick and friend of many sisters. “It is only looking back that I can see the richness in my relationship with the community. Sometimes I think I never really left … I just brought the Presentations with me.”
Marilyn and her husband Al are longtime friends and partners of the Sisters of the Presentation. Over the years, in addition to their generous financial gifts to the Presentation community, the Krugers describe themselves as “accidental adventurers” who have had the opportunity to “tag along” with the Presentation Sisters as volunteers in rebuilding efforts in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, with the EXCEL program in Okolona, Mississippi and in Presentation ministry efforts in Bolivia.
“We are in awe of the evolution in the work of the community. Nano Nagle (Presentation foundress) was a wealthy woman who invited the poor of Ireland into her social network. If poverty means having no choice, she gave choices to the poor who could move out of poverty through education.” Marilyn and Al recognize that the Presentation charism of hospitality is key to the work of today’s sisters and associates as they reach out in service to God’s people. “Nano’s ‘hedges and lanes’ simply have become community centers for immigrants and other ministry efforts to help improve the lives of the homeless, women and children in our world today.”
Marilyn and Al feel that it has been a privilege to be able to be part of the Presentation mission and ministries and feel indebted for the many gifts that they have received. “Our belief is that the ‘wealth’ of experience and opportunities we have enjoyed in each chapter of our life point to the gifts received through our relationship with the Presentation Sisters. The sisters who brought education to Catholics in the small towns in the Midwest opened doors beyond what many of us might have expected. We can name so many people who attribute their personal success to the education received from the Sisters of the Presentation.”
In addition to volunteering in Presentation ministries and giving monthly gifts to the Presentation community, the Krugers have also included the Sisters of the Presentation in their estate plans. “God willing and if there’s anything left at the end of our lives, we hope there will be enough for a modest bequest to the Presentations.” For Marilyn and Al, partnering with the Presentation community is a way to say “thank you” for the many blessings they have received.