Sister Rita Keegan


Keegan, RitaSister Rita Keegan

 Current Ministry Location: Oregon, U.S.

Sister Rita was born in Richland Center, WI on September 11th, 1934 to Eulalia (Flannery) Keegan and Raymond Keegan. She had 3 sisters and 1 brother. Sister Rita graduated from Richland Center High School, WI in 1952. She also earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Rosary College, River Forest, IL in 1956.

Sister Rita entered the Congregation at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY on September 2nd, 1957. She pronounced First Vows June 24th, 1960 at the Sisters Center and Final Vows June 24th, 1966 in Bolivia. Her first assignment was to the South Bronx, NY in 1960, where she taught at St. Anthony’s School.

After five years in the South Bronx, Sister Rita received her first overseas assignment in 1965 to Bolivia where she taught and later worked in a resettlement project in the jungle where several thousand people were forced from their homes by floods. In what had been nothing but forest and jungle, she helped inaugurate two colonies, Hardeman and Piray, a pastoral and community project sponsored by the joint efforts of Catholic, Methodist and Mennonite churches administering an orientation program for the new colonists, mostly indigenous people. After 12 years, she moved from the jungle to Charamoco in the mountainous area around Cochabamba and was part of a pastoral team ministering to 36 small villages of Quechua Indians. Integration of community and human development were their priorities.

She served from 1985-1988 as Congregational Personnel Director. She returned to Bolivia to continue her work and serve on the Sisters’ regional leadership team several times, as well as facilitating meetings for other regions and groups. In 1990 she was assigned to the Western US Region where she has been engaged in various groups addressing counseling needs.

Sister Rita lives in an economically depressed area in Oregon. She is a counselor/therapist at Four Rivers Free Clinic and in the State Correctional Facility with individuals and groups in the infirmary for the severely mentally ill. Her work in Head Start is with Spanish-speaking families, mostly mothers and children individually and in groups. She was a volunteer on the board of the Alcohol Recovery Center and continues as a sponsor for several in the AA Twelve Step Program. She collaborates on retreat events, mostly in the AA program. She also has private clients for counseling/spiritual direction.

In October 2019, Sister Rita suffered a stroke and is recuperating in Idaho.