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Kathleen was born on May 4, 1924 in Providence, RI to Mary Gallagher Skenyon and Patrick Skenyon. She is survived by her sister, Peggy. Her four brothers, James, John, Leo and Vincent predeceased her.
Kathleen graduated from St. Patrick’s High School, Providence, RI in 1941. She worked at the New England Telephone and Telegraph Company as an operator during which time she attended night courses at Providence College Extension School (1944 – 46) and Edgewood Secretarial School (1945 – 46). She entered the Maryknoll Sisters Novitiate from her home parish, St. Pius V, Providence on October 5, 1946. At her reception she received the religious name, Sister M. St. Anne. She made her first Profession of Vows on April 6, 1949 at the Maryknoll Sisters Center and her Final Vows on April 6, 1952 in Hawaii.
Sister Kathleen attended Maryknoll Teachers College at Maryknoll, NY where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Education in 1951 and was assigned to Hawaii the same year, where she taught at Maryknoll Elementary School, in Honolulu’s Punahou district. In 1955 she worked in the Diocesan Catechetical Office for two years and then returned to Maryknoll Elementary School from 1957 – 61.
Subsequently, she taught at St. Augustine School, Waikiki in 1961 and St. Anthony School, Kalihi, from 1962–1966. She then served as librarian for Grades K–12 at St. Anthony School, Wailuku, Maui, from 1966–72. The years 1968–72 also found her studying during the summers at the University of Hawaii where she earned an M.A. in Library Science. She also studied Braille in 1979 and in 1984, sign language.
During the years that followed Sister Kathleen served at St. Ann’s Elementary School as Librarian with responsibility for CCD and religious classes, for children and adults. Her librarian expertise had her working at Kahumana, a residential center for the mentally ill in Waianae from 1979 – 84. Her work as librarian continued in Nanakuli, where she also served as a substitute teacher from 1984 – 88. She assisted in setting up a new library on the Island of Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia and trained U.S. Peace Corps members in library preparation. In 1991 she was invited to American Samoa where she worked for three years setting up two high schools and two elementary school libraries and training librarians to manage them. In 1994, she retired to Nanakuli and did volunteer work and from 1996 to 2002 tutoring English and Math at Leeward Community College in Waianae.
Sister Kathleen returned to Ossining, NY in 2002 due to ill health. There she resided at the Maryknoll Sisters Home Care Unit, engaged in a ministry of prayer and correspondence. She died peacefully on the morning of May 30, 2016.
A Vespers Service will be held on Monday, June 6th at 4:15p.m. in the Main Chapel at the Maryknoll Sisters Center. A funeral Mass of the Resurrection will be on Tuesday, June 7th at 11:00 a.m. also in the Main Chapel at the Maryknoll Sisters Center. Interment will follow in the Maryknoll Sisters Cemetery on the Center grounds.
Maryknoll, NY: Sister Rita Nixon died on May 28, 2016 at Maryknoll Sisters Center. She was 91 years old and had been a Maryknoll Sister for 64 years.
Rita was born on May 22, 1925 in Beverly, MA to Katherine Amelia Nixon and Joseph Patrick Nixon. She had one brother, Joseph Francis and two sisters, Katherine and Mary Anne. All have predeceased her.
Rita graduated from St. Mary’s High School, Beverly, MA in 1942 and earned a diploma at Salem Commercial (1942-43). Following this she enrolled in nurses training at Beverly Hospital School of Nursing and earned her R.N. from 1943-46. After graduating she worked at Beverly Hospital for several months. She then went to the Boston Visiting Nurses’ Association where she worked for five years, during which time she also attended Simmons College, Boston (1947-48) where she earned a certificate in Public Health. She also organized the Star of the Sea Guild, the North Shore Chapter of the Boston Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Nurses and was the first Guild President. From 1950-51 she went to the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. for a semester and on September 6, 1951 entered the Maryknoll Sisters Congregation in Ossining, NY from St. Mary Star of the Sea Parish, Beverly, MA. At her reception she received the name Sister Rita Miriam. She made her first Profession of Vows on March 7, 1954 at the Maryknoll Sisters Motherhouse, in Ossining, NY and was assigned to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) that same year. Arriving in Kandy, Ceylon in 1955, she was Nursing Supervisor and Supervisor of Surgical Wards in a government hospital until 1959 when she was assigned to Kundasale and served as parish sacristan and to other parish and general house duties.
In 1960 she returned to the Motherhouse and Bethany, the Sisters’ nursing home at that time. She made her Final Profession of Vows at the Motherhouse on March 7, 1960. In 1961, Sister Rita was assigned to assist at the Maryknoll Sisters’ Novitiate in Valley Park, MO, where she was Assistant Superior until 1967. In 1968 she moved to the Maryknoll Sisters Retirement Center in Monrovia, CA where she was house superior until 1971. From there she moved to Duarte, CA joining the Western Region. She attended a refresher course for R.N’s at Los Angeles City College. During 1972-73 she worked at City of Hope Medical Center and with the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) of Pasadena. In 1974 she was assigned to the U.S. Eastern Region and Baltimore, MD where she again worked with the VNA doing outreach into patients’ homes, with therapy and health care for ten years. From 1984 to 1997 she continued to work with Baltimore VNA Hospice Programs and Staff RN Home Care (full time). She was also a volunteer Teacher Aide in Adult Education Program three to six hours a week. When she retired she continued to do volunteer work at the St. Vincent De Paul Soup Kitchen and in Hospice work until 2006.
Sister Rita was assigned to the Maryknoll Sisters’ Center at Ossining, NY in 2007. Due to failing health, she joined the Maryknoll Sisters’ Home Care unit in 2015 where she died on May 28, 2016. Sister Rita donated her body to science.
A Vespers Service will be held on Thursday, June 2th at 4:15 p.m. in the Main Chapel at the Maryknoll Sisters Center. A Memorial Mass will be celebrated on Friday, June 3 at 11:00 A.M. in the main chapel of the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Ossining, N.Y. Interment will follow in the Maryknoll Sisters Cemetery on the Center grounds.
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