Sister Rita Kane

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Sister Rita Kane
Current Ministry Location: Maryknoll Sisters Center-Maryknoll, NY

Sister Rita was born September 11th, 1920 in Sterling, IL to Clara Marie Seidel Kane and James Kane. She had 3 sisters and 4 brothers. Sister Rita graduated from Catholic Commercial High School in 1938.

Sister Rita entered the Congregation on September 6th, 1944 from St. Mary’s Parish, Sterling, IL.  She pronounced First Vows March 7th, 1947 and Final Vows March 7th, 1950, both at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY. Sister Rita graduated from Rogers Teachers College at Maryknoll in 1950 with a Bachelor’s degree in Education; Sister Rita later studied pastoral ministry at Trinity College, Washington, DC, and spiritual direction and retreat work at the Spiritual Life Center, Honolulu, HI.

Sister Rita’s first assignment was teaching second grade at Transfiguration School in New York City’s Chinatown from 1949-1950. She was then assigned to Hawaii, where she taught fourth grade in Kahili from 1950-1952 and in Wailuku from 1952-1953.  She became aware of the need of neglected children in Paia and felt called later in 1953 to minister to them. She spent the next 12 years caring for them and learning social work simply by becoming immersed in it.

From 1965 – 1970, she served as the congregation’s Hawaii Regional Mission Planning and Program Director in Punahou and took courses in sociology and counseling at the University of Hawaii, at the same time. These courses served her well in her next ministry as a probation officer with Family Court for the State of Hawaii, working with juvenile offenders from 1970-1979.  She also served on the Hawaii Regional Governing Board for the congregation from 1979-1982.

Sister Rita then heard and answered the cry of battered women and children, becoming a counselor at a shelter for abused spouses and children in Honolulu from 1980-1985, and providing counseling to abusive men in Nanakuli from 1988-1992.  During this same period she served as a member of the Regional Governing Board for the congregation’s Central Pacific Region and a delegate to the 1984 General Assembly.

From 1994 – 2007 Sister Rita was very active in literacy programs, English tutoring, prison ministry, visits to the sick and bringing communion to the homebound in Nanakuli. She also formed groups of ex-prisoners who, with their families, met periodically as support, to celebrate life and to help each other, and was lector and Eucharistic Minister at the parish, often substituting for the priest in holding communion services when he was not available.

In 2008, Sister Rita retired at the Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY where she is actively involved in Pax Christi; Center Cerns (the congregation’s in-house justice and peace group) and serves as a lector for Masses held at the Center. Her prayer ministry is Haiti.