Born to John Mulhern and Brigid nee Gilhooly on October 17, 1930 Kathleen attended St. Stanislaus Grammar School in Maspeth, Queens and St. Joseph Juniorate in Flushing. She graduated from high school in 1948 and in September 1948 entered St. Joseph’s Novitiate.
Sister Kathleen was highly educated and trained in a profession that would mold the hearts, minds and souls of her students. Among her accomplishments Kathleen earned a B.A. from St. John’s University; an M.S. from Long Island University in Elementary Education with a specialization in Reading; a Permanent Teacher Certificate from the Diocesan Normal School Office of Brooklyn; Permanent Teacher Certification from the University of the State of New York; and Basic and Advanced Certificates in Religious Studies Programs from the Rockville Centre Diocese Office of Catechesis and Worship.
Kathleen used her educational opportunities as a nursery and kindergarten teacher and a teacher in all the primary grades in the Catholic school system. Her ministry brought her to various schools in Suffolk, Brooklyn and Ponce, Puerto Rico. In the 1990s she worked in the Learning Center Parents of Jamaica and also for the Ferrini Welfare League in the after-school program.
My path connected with Kathleen’s path here in Maria Regina when she became ill. In her room, where she would be in her chair dressed meticulously by her aides, Kathleen expressed deep desire to receive the Eucharist and wanted to attend Mass on a daily basis. Kathleen had her special seat by the back door and was a visible presence up to the near end of her life.
Kathleen showed one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit – Long Suffering. She never complained. Kathleen always said those two Magic Words endearing to all her caregivers – Thank you – for whatever you did for her. Deep desire for union with God, gratitude expressed to all who came into her presence, and patient long suffering are some of the virtues Kathleen exhibited in her life.
During Kathleen’s final days, peace and tranquility emanated from her which seemed to say that she connected with a profound Presence. Like Elijah, the prophet – after the earthquake – the fire – the winds, a serene peace is now within her. Kathleen brought to my mind the poem of David Whyte, entitled Easter Morning in Wales.
A garden inside me,
the layers of its soil, deep and thick
i have awoken from thee sleep of ages
And I don’t know if
I am dreaming or sleeping or
Walking toward sunrise, to have
stumbled into the garden
where the stone was rolled
from tomb of longing.
Kathleen, pray for all of us here who are still on the Journey of Faith.
Mary Shalley, CSJ
Sister Kathleen Rose Mulhern, CSJ died on August 5, 2016 in the 68th year of her religious life.