I am extremely appreciative of all of those who are able to be with us this morning to honor the life of Sister Katherine Hanrahan. I am equally appreciative of those who have called to tell me they are sending their thoughts and prayers to us this morning.
My first responsibility is to read a brief letter dictated to me by my sister many weeks ago. It reads as follows,
Dear Sister Helen Kearney and the congregation.
I want you to know how much I value being a member of the Congregation of the sisters of St. Joseph.
I am grateful for the support and prayers of the entire group of sisters.
I wanted to spend my life being a Sister of St. Joseph and I am grateful to have been among you.
My life has been one shared with you all and I am deeply appreciative of being part of this congregation.
Many in the audience know my sister as Sister Katherine Hanrahan or Sister Kit.
To me she has always been Kitty or Kit. She is my only sister and I have known her my whole life.
I have been impressed with her since I was a child but I am so touched by all I have learned about her in these last few days,
Some of you knew Katherine as an educator, some as an advocate for housing rights, some as a champion of women and their children.
I knew her as my sister. She was smart, kind, interesting, compassionate and never to be trusted at cards.
She loved the pond we went to in Vermont.
She loved the boys for whom she was a guardian.
She had a warm heart. I see it today as her ongoing gift to us all.
Many years ago at the age of 15, when Kitty told me she was entering the order I said with great maturity “I shall never speak with you again.”
She said with a smile. “We shall see about that.!!!”
I missed her terribly and felt the loss of my only sibling.
As the year’s progressed I saw that her life was chosen as only she could choose it and it was a committed life.
Kit lived that commitment.I have met many whose lives were touched by my sister, I met two twin girls who Kitty brought back to My Mother’s House on the day of their birth. I met colleagues, friends, and my loving family that had stories to tell.
I am grateful for the stories and for all of their support.
My sister was grounded in love of family and we were both fortunate to have family that have cared for us and stayed connected.
My sister would be so glad to know that Father Tom Healy is with us this morning. He has been a kind and faithful friend during these many years of illness. She had requested him to celebrate her mass and I am so glad that is the case.
My time with my sister on this journey of illness was very valuable. I learned a great deal about patience, kindness, and the ability to be resilient in times of great stress and pain. I came to see my sister’s courage and I see her as a valiant woman. I was assisted and supported along the way by the constancy of Sister Mary Ellen Vesey and the guidance and friendship of Sister Joan Deering. I had a true partner in Sister Tesa Fitzgerald and that connection was a final gift of my sister’s to me
I only hope my family and friends know how profoundly grateful I am to them. Having them in my life has been so important and they have been so generous during times of happiness and times of great sadness.
These past months have been rich with shared memories and moments of remembering together. I sang some old Irish songs for my sister and I know that we both went back to times in our childhood in our minds eye.
Those quiet times together with her will be an ongoing gift to my spirit in her absence.
I shall miss her and can truly say that having here as a sister made me a better woman.
Eulogy by Mary Hanrahan
Sister Katherine Mary Hanrahan, CSJ died on December 21, 2017 in the 55th year of her religious life.