Aston, PA – Sister Catherine Ellen Kearney, OSF, died in Asissi House on January 6, 2012. She was 92 years of age and had been a professed member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia for 67 years. Sister Catherine Ellen (Sarah Elizabeth Kearney) was born in Hurlford, Ayrshire, Scotland. She later moved to Philadelphia, where she was a member of St. Bernard Parish. Prior to her entrance into the congregation in 1942, she graduated from Hallahan High School and worked as a secretary at John Bromley & Sons. She professed her first vows in 1944 and taught fourth grade for a year at St. Elizabeth School in Baltimore. Most of her years in ministry, however, were spent in healthcare, parish ministry, prison ministry, AIDS ministry, and social work. She trained as a nurse at Georgetown Hospital (1944-1947) and Providence Hospital (1947-1948) in Washington. She earned a BSN from the Catholic University of America and an M.A. in Guidance from Marquette University. She published articles in Hospital Progress and Catholic Nurse and received the Franciscan Peace Award from the Franciscan Federation. In her leisure time, she enjoyed reading, doing crossword puzzles, making rosaries, listening to music, and keeping up on current events.
Sister Catherine Ellen ministered for 42 years in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. She ministered at St. Joseph Hospital (1948-1953) as a nursing supervisor; Our Lady of Angels Convent, Aston (1964-1974, 1983-1984, 2002-2005) in various roles from hospital consultant to director of research and planning. She also ministered at St. Agnes Hospital (1974-1976, 2000-2002) as a clinical nurse; Catholic Social Services, (1976-1981, 1989-1990) in prison ministry; and St. Casmir Formation House, (1990-1997). During her time in Philadelphia, she helped to coordinate resident care at Calcutta House and assisted in the founding of the Gift of Mary Hospice in Chester for women and children with AIDS. She moved to Assisi House in Aston in 2005 where she ministered in prayer ministry until her death.
Sister Catherine Ellen ministered in the Diocese of Trenton for 11 years in administration at St. Francis Hospital (1953-1964). She also spent three years in the Diocese of Wilmington at St. Francis Hospital (1997-2000). In addition, Sister Catherine Ellen served five years as a missionary and helped to found a mission for the poor in the Diocese of St. John’s-Bassterre, Antiqua (1984-1989), and three years as a caregiver (1981-1983).
Upon her death Sister Catherine Ellen Kearney requested her body be donated to the Humanity Gifts Registry for education and science. A prayer service at 9:30 A.M. followed by a Memorial Mass at 11 A.M. will be celebrated on Thursday, January 19 at Assisi House, 600 Red Hill Road, Aston, Pennsylvania. Sister Catherine is survived by her Franciscan family. Donations in her name can be made to Sisters of St. Francis Foundation, 609 S. Convent Road, Aston, PA 19014.