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Kieran Kennedy, CSJP (1928 - 2017)

Sister Kieran Kennedy grew up in the Catholic faith and learned a love of the land and of growing things as a child in Ireland. Born into a large family in Duniry, County Galway, on September 18, 1928, she was baptized Margaret Mary Kennedy. Two of her sisters also entered religious life, though in different communities.

Margaret Mary Kennedy became Sister Kieran after she entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace. She was received as a Postulant in Cabra, the postulancy home in Newry, Northern Ireland, in 1943 when she was just 14 years old. Two years later, while World War II was still being fought, she was received into the Novitiate in Bellingham at 16, and was only 18 when she made her first vows – a very young age for a life decision. She was given the name Kieran, after an Irish saint, and while many sisters returned to their baptismal names when they were free to choose, she chose to remain Kieran.

Sister Kieran completed her high school work in Bellingham and was initially assigned to cook for the community in CSJP schools in Seattle and Port Angeles, WA and Fernie, B.C. In 1955, she was given the opportunity to study at Seattle University, and after that she was missioned as a teacher. She completed her degree, as many Sisters did, by taking classes every year in summer school. Sister Kieran received her B. Ed. degree from Seattle University in 1965.

Sister Kieran taught, mainly Grades 3, 4, and 5, from 1955 until 1979, in schools in Seattle, Bellevue, Longview and Wenatchee, WA; Corvallis, OR; Van Nuys and San Diego, CA and Trail, B.C. She then worked in parish ministry for six years at Star of the Sea Parish, Port Townsend.

In 1986, Sister Kieran moved to St. Mary-on-the-Lake, Bellevue, where she has been a vital part of the community for 31 years. For a time she provided childcare for local families. One of her favorite works was the creation of a special garden along the Peace Walk above Gaffney Hall, which she tended lovingly until a fracture limited her mobility.

Sister Kieran’s Irish charm and cheerful presence have long delighted the Sisters, Associates, and St. Mary’s staff, as well as visitors. Her 89th birthday was celebrated with a special dinner and a party in September; Sr. Kieran said at the time that she would be content not to reach a 90th birthday. Sr. Kieran died very peacefully on October 28, 2017 in Bellevue, WA.

Kieran Kennedy, CSJP (1928 - 2017)

"So yes, we are forever beginning, and the best we can do is be very grateful that each new beginning is one more chance to grow. "

Margaret Byrne, CSJP