Sister Kathleen Kelly

Kathleen Kelly,jpg._edited-1Sister Kathleen Kelly has been a Maryknoll Sister for 60 years, serving in Nicaragua as well as among Mexican people in the United States.

Born in 1927 in Chicago, Sister Kathleen entered Maryknoll Sisters from St. Sabina’s Parish, Chicago, in 1955. A 1945 graduate of Loretto Academy, Chicago,  she earned a B.S. in education from Mary Rogers College, Maryknoll, NY.

She  received her assignment to Nicaragua, where she would spend the next 23 years, in 1959, following a period working in the administration office at the Maryknoll Sisters Motherhouse.  She first served in Siuna, a remote mining town on the east coast of Nicaragua, where the Sisters had opened a grammar school. There, Sister Kathleen taught commercial subjects until 1968.

In 1971, she moved to Managua, where she was involved with forming leaders on social and religious levels, and worked with personnel at  the Institute of Human Promotion (INPRHU), a non-profit, non-governmental organization working for human rights and the welfare of children, adolescents, families and communities.  Then, from 1973-1976, she collaborated with six Nicaraguan laymen in three rural communities to form Christian leaders.

Sister Kathleen then returned to the United States, where, while caring for family in Chicago, she taught English as a Second Language to Mexican adults from 1982-1988. She then joined the staff of Mujeres Latinas en Accion , a bilingual social service agency, meeting the needs of 3,000 Latin American women annually, where she would serve for the next 20 years.  Sister Kathleen’s responsibilities included making assessment of housing needs to insure violence-free housing was secured, developing plans for all women requiring permanent housing, overseeing general intake for anyone needed information or referral assistance.

She was also involved with social justice issues and actions. In 2008, she became a counselor at a Chicago women’s center, where she served until 2014.  She is now a resident of the congregation’s Chi Ro Community at Maryknoll Sisters Center near Ossining, NY.

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