Sister Kathleen Kelly

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Sister Kathleen Kelly

Current Ministry Location: Maryknoll Sisters Center-Maryknoll, NY

Sister Kathleen was born on August 8th, 1927 in Chicago, IL to Kate Kelly and Thomas Kelly. She had 3 brothers. Sister Kathleen graduated from Loretto Academy High School, Chicago in 1945

Sister Kathleen entered the Congregation from St. Sabina’s Parish, Chicago on September 2nd, 1955. She pronounced First Vows at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY on June 24th, 1958 and Final Vows June 24th, 1964 in Nicaragua. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Adult Education from Rogers College, Maryknoll, NY in 1971.

In 1959, Sister Kathleen received her assignment to Nicaragua, where she would spend the next 23 years. She first served in Siuna, a remote mining town on the east coast of Nicaragua, where the Sisters had opened a grammar school. Later, 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 Community leaders.

Sister Kathleen returned, in 1976, to the United States for service to the Congregation. While caring for family in Chicago, she taught English as a Second Language to Mexican adults. 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 to insure that violence-free housing was secured, developing plans for all women requiring permanent housing and overseeing general intake for anyone needing 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 when she retired to the Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY.