sister kathleen carroll
April 1, 1922 – June 13, 2009
S. Kathleen Carroll, whose Irish immigrant parents "danced her into birth the night before she was born," inherited from them her fierce love of family, her treasured gift of musicianship, and above all, her great desire to do God's will. Permeating all these aspects of her life was her droll humor, keen wit, and Irish charm and elegance.
"Ours was a warm, loving home presided over by these two delightful Irish immigrants," she said of her parents, Hugh M. Carroll and Nonie T. Lydon Carroll of St. Louis. In loving tribute to them, Kathleen remained devoted and loyal to her family, especially to her brother Tom. Her middle brother was killed in WW II during the Normandy invasion while she was a novice. Her strong familial love she readily transferred to her sister's children, with whom she stayed connected. As they grew, she relished in all their activities.
Because of her parents' great devotion to God and the Blessed Mother, the practice of prayer, recitation of the Angelus, Sunday vespers at Holy Rosary Church, and daily mass came natural to Kathleen. She was somewhat perplexed then when, after high school, she said she was going to the convent and her mother said, "No." Eventually after she and her father "stormed heaven," her mother relented and Kathleen entered Carondelet in September of 1942. She believed her mother's permission to go to Carondelet was God's answer to her daily prayer to do His will.
Kathleen described as a "crowning joy" the knowledge that she was to be trained as a music teacher. "To be involved in such a delightful way in doing God's will has been very significant to me, " she said of her ministry as a musician. "It enabled me to be closely associated with the Eucharistic life of the Church in liturgy. It has provided me access to countless numbers of young people eager to express their deep feelings in song and/or instrumental music." Kathleen's musical training involved her in many a school production in collaboration with others. Many also remember her as the choir director at Carondelet when she was assistant to the novice director in the 1960's. There she witnessed for the novices her deep devotion to God and shared with them her love of music.
During this time as well, S. Kathleen assumed the position of part time vocation director. She described her willingness to assume this role by saying she was "committed to our community efforts to spread the Kingdom of God so that it may enkindle a like desire in the many young women who are seeking a way of life that will best channel their spirit of dedication."
Following community service, S. Kathleen returned to secondary teaching for an additional 17 years, after which she determined to go to Japan when she heard of the need for sisters to go there. At St. Joseph Joshi Gakuen in Tsu, she helped students engage in conversational English. All were impressed with her warmth, her elegance, and her willingness to step out of her comfort zone. She visited their home parishes and even started bell choirs. Music for her was truly "the universal language spoken by all."
S. Kathleen was one of those wise women who could listen compassionately without being judgmental and could offer sage advice without being over bearing. Personable and approachable, she was quick to forgive and move on, one who never worried too much about the inconsequential. She knew how to be a dear friend, a confidante, a faith-filled one who proclaimed the Word of God as she "danced through life."
S. Kathleen went to Nazareth Living Center in 2000 to begin her retirement. Her time was marred by the swift onset of dementia. Yet never did she complain about God's plan for her. As she did all her life, she accepted God's will for her and waited out the time in good humor and prayer. On June 13, S. Kathleen gave herself to God in an eternal embrace. May she rest in peace.
S. Rita Louise Huebner, S. Kathleen Karbowski