ILEANA OF ROMANIA, WHO BECAME NUN, DIES AT 82
Princess Ileana of Romania in a photograph taken some time ago. Associated Press
By Eric Pace
Princess Ileana of Romania, who was known as Mother Alexandra after becoming a nun, died at midday yesterday in St. Elizabeth Hospital Medical Center in Youngstown, Ohio", Mother Christophora, abbess of the Monastery of the Holy Transfiguration, said.
An aunt of former King Michael of Romania, she was 82 years old and had been a nun at the monastery, which is a community of the Orthodox Church in America in Ell wood City in western Pennsylvania, for 22 years.
Mother Alexandra, who founded the convent in 1968 and was its abbess from 1969 to 1980, fractured her hip in a fall there on Jan. 4, entered the hospital that night, suffered a massive heart attack on Jan. 8 and died of heart failure, Mother Christophora said.
She was born Jan. 5, 1909, the youngest of the five children of King Ferdinand and Queen Marie of Romania, and was a cousin of Queen Elizabeth II of Britain.
Brother Becomes King
Her eldest brother became King Carol II of Romania, and at his behest she was married in her early 20's to Archduke Anton of the Austrian Haps-burg dynasty and left Romania. She-returned to her homeland in 1940 but was forced to leave in 1948 by the Communist Government.
She eventually came to the United States, carrying an heirloom diamond and sapphire tiara wrapped in a night gown, and settled in Newton, Mass. She divorced the Archduke, who had served in the German Air Force during Work War II, in 1954 and supported herself and her children by giving lectures on such topics as her life, Romania and world peace.
Her second marriage, to Dr. Stefan Issarescu, ended in divorce and then, with her children grown up, she became a nun of the Orthodox Church in the convent of the Protection of the Holy Virgin in Bussy-en-Othe in east-central France before going on to found the convent in Pennsylvania.
After retiring as abbess at that convent, she continued an active life there, and as a speaker on religious topics around the country.
She traveled, to Romania in September, her first visit since 1948, to see the graves of her parents.
Author of Several Books
Her writings include a volume of memoirs, "I Live Again" (1952), and several books on spiritual and religious subjects, including "Meditations on the Nicene Creed" (1958).
She is survived by three daughters from her first marriage, Alexandra, who lives in West Germany, and Magdalene and Elisabeth, who live in Austria; and two sons, Stefan, of Detroit, and Dominic, of Venice.
The former King Michael, who was ejected from Romania by the Communists shortly before Princess Ileana was, now lives in Geneva.