Sister Mary Kenneth Lane, CSJ
We all are joined by the common bond of the faith-filled and holy life and goodness of Sister Mary Kenneth Lane, a Sister of St. Joseph for 79 full and fruitful years.
Born Mary Elizabeth to Jay and Ellen Lane, Mary Kenneth told countless stories of her idyllic life growing up in Queens Village. Our Lady of Lourdes Parish provided meaningful opportunities for Mary Kenneth and her brother, Kenneth to become seeped in values that mattered ~ especially an ardent love of God and service to God’s people.
After graduating from The Mary Louis Academy, Mary Kenneth entered the Congregation and was always grateful to proudly bear her beloved brother’s name throughout her religious life.
After ministering as an elementary school teacher in ten parish schools across both dioceses, Mary Kenneth served as a nurse’s aide at Mercy Hospital. She treasured this experience as a deepening of her awareness of God’s call to be present to the vulnerable and needy in our world.
Mary Kenneth’s life was nourished by the Eucharist and her devotion to the Blessed Mother. Spending time at the ocean brought her deep peace and Shelter Island was her home away from home.
A turning point in Mary Kenneth’s ministry came in 1980 when the lure and love of literature and reading coupled with emerging technology brought her into the world of service as a school librarian and media specialist ~ or, “guru” ~ a title she preferred.
Earning a degree from St. John’s University in Library Science and Media, Mary Kenneth plunged wholeheartedly into a new ministry that brought her great joy and satisfaction ~ one that opened the hearts and minds of her students to a world charged with the grandeur and endless possibilities of our magnificent God.
Mary Kenneth served as a Librarian at Bishop Kearney High School and Our Lady of Perpetual Help High School.
In 1992 she arrived at her “Heaven on Earth” work at St. Francis Prep Library.
Recalling her 19 years of treasured ministry at the Prep always brought joy and animation to her soul.
We are blessed that Sister Mary Ann Napier who ministered with Mary Kenneth at “The Prep” will share a personal reflection.
When I think of Mary a quote from Pope Francis resounds in my mind.
“The person, who loves, gives, gives things, gives life, gives herself to God and to others”
The Sisters of St. Joseph were enriched by Mary’s presence for 79 Years.
Mary developed her educational skills by earning a B.A in History and Masters in Library Science. As Sisters of St. Joseph our mission of education has always been to empower diverse people. Through their foundation in the values of gospel and the development of their personal skills, we hope to foster those who will help to create a just and peaceful world.
As we grow older and leave our ministries, as Mary did, we all can wonder what effect we had on our family, our local community of Sisters, the students and fellow educators.
Mary taught in grade school and High School. St. Bernard’s, St. Vincent de Paul, Bishop Kearney, Our lady of Perpetual Help to mention a few. When Mary started her journey in education, back in the day as they say, the classrooms were more than filled to compactly young people to educate. Yet with the overflowing classrooms students learned and moved on to be successful in a myriad of careers. There were the Holy Communions, the Confirmations, the May Processions, the Christmas Pageants etc… each took place with precision, enthusiasm and care. The goal was to praise the Lord and to enable the parents of the children to be proud. Mary was part and parcel of this age.
As Mary moved into Library Science and Audio Visuals, the world of education was rapidly changing. It has been told to me that Mary was first denied a job at St. Francis Prep because she was not a typist. Well to make a long story short, she not only got the job in the Library but became the go to person to secure Audio Visuals for teachers in every department. Typing was the least of it. In the beginning world of Audio Visuals, if it was available and you needed it …Mary would find it and deliver it with a broad smile.Today, all you need to do is turn on the computer. Back then when teachers wanted to show a movie or a relevant film strip, it required a great amount of time to organize and to deliver the needed materials from the Liberian.
Mary’s presence at the Prep is remembered as the quiet, kind, caring Sister with a wonderful sense of humor. She always had time to stop and interact with all members of the Prep family.
In her last years, for some reason being on a boat was on her mind. She searched for friends and was concerned to find them on this boat. For me, I would like to think that Mary was reliving happy moments that were experienced on a boat and on the water. I feel this yearning was peaceful and joy filled for her.
Finally, our search for the living God, while on earth is seeking the God of forgiveness and inclusive love. Sister Mary Kenneth lived that search by her warm and happy presence to her family, the members of the Sisters of St. Joseph and all those in the school communities that she served. Our Sister Mary has gone on to live with God!
Gratitude, Mary Ann. You beautifully captured Mary Kenneth’s vibrance, wisdom and relational spirit.
As our Constitution is placed in her hands we give thanks and praise to our Creator God for Mary Kenneth’s 79 beautiful and faith-filled years lived among us as a Sister of St. Joseph.
Sister Mary Kenneth Lane, CSJ died on February 10, 2023 in the 79th year of her religious life.