Even though we feel sadness all of us here can be encouraged because Agnes was loved by God and she was faithful to sharing that love her entire life. Born to Agnes Watt Kenna and Francis Kenna, Agnes entered our congregation two years after high school. Attending Normal school for certification as a teacher, Agnes continued her education and studied English at Manhattan College and then received a Master’s Degree in English from St. John’s University. Agnes loved this field of study and was an avid reader. She instilled in her students a love and joy in learning as she taught in elementary school and in high school at Queen of All Saints Diocesan High School, Sacred Heart Academy and Bishop Kearney High School. A life-long learner, Agnes studied Library Science and participated regularly in St. John’s University Library Congress. She ministered in the library at Immaculate Conception School for over thirty years, enjoying reading to students even after she retired.
In all of her ministries, Agnes shared her knowledge and skills but most of all she was present to her students, sensitive to their needs and caring for each one as an individual, loved by God. She could only do this because of her deep spirituality and sense that as St. Paul tells us “God has made a home in her heart.”
Agnes’s lived our congregation’s mission to bring God’s healing and reconciling love wherever there is need. She was Christ’s presence to countless children and families over the years. She lived the words of St. Theresa of Avila:
“Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.”
Agnes has been referred to as an active contemplative. She truly taught her students but also was the face of care and compassion in ways we may never know. One of her students, an author, has made us aware and wrote about Agnes in his book “By George,” never forgetting her kindness and influence in his life.
So that is why we celebrate in the midst of our sorrow. Agnes lived knowing that Jesus was the resurrection and the life and we believe that even though she has died, Agnes lives the fullness of that life for all eternity.
Sister Agnes Cecilia Kenna, CSJ died on November 14, 2015 in the 77th year of her religious life.