Today we celebrate a life of deep love and true joy, the life of Eileen Keane, a sister of St. Joseph for seventy- one years. Eileen, Mary Raymond was born to James and Mary and attended school at St. Gregory’s elementary and Bishop McDonnell High School. After high school Mary entered the congregation often known as the congregation of the great love of God. As we remember Mary’s life it becomes obvious that love of God and neighbor without distinction was part of her being and in truth she taught countless others how to live that love.
Mary taught in a number of parish elementary schools and during that time earned a Bachelor’s degree in History from St. Francis College and a Masters from Manhattan College in Education and Counseling. She ministered in high school at Bishop McDonnell, St. Joseph’s, Fontbonne Hall and Stella Maris. She served as Principal of St. Joseph’s Parish School. During these years ministering in Brooklyn, Mary knew the love of God as a source of joy in her own life and saw how countless others needed to be reminded that they were loved unconditionally.
Mary and her friend Loretta responded to that need and began to minister in Appalachia in 1982 doing whatever needed to be done as Mary served as Guidance Counselor, Pastoral Associate and in Parish Outreach. Those were the formal roles Mary played but who Mary was to the people of Appalachia, to her family and to us is what we celebrate today. With humor, her wise and witty sayings and of course her baking, Mary touched the hearts of all who came to know her. Her deep joy and clever wit could make tense situations bearable even if it involved literally hanging from a limb. She kept the small things in perspective and lived large in the Spirit of God, revealing to all the love the Father and Jesus had for one another. She has been and will continue to be one of God’s children. My only concern is that as Mary journeyed from this earthly existence to eternity, it may have taken her longer than most as she greeted and recognized everyone along the way. Perhaps there might even have been time to offer a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to the hungry.
Mary we thank you and we love you for you have spent your life so that others could know they are loved and capable of sharing the joy of that love with all on this journey of life. We will never forget your wisdom, simplicity of life and your commitment. So all of us here today will continue to tell your story because it reveals the love of God we have experienced through your life.
Sister Mary Raymond Keane died on June 2, 2017 in the 71st year of her religious life.