By Lorraine Cooper, SC
Sister Mary Kieran’s motto was provided by her father and remains with her today in word and action. The words are from an old African-American spiritual: “If I can help somebody…my living will not be in vain.” The Vincentian spirit was developed in her Novitiate as a Sister of Charity and blossomed into fifty-two years of teaching from first to eighth grade.
Upon retiring from education, Sister Kieran volunteered at the Convent of Mary the Queen, visiting the sick sisters, sitting with the dying (who took away all fear of dying by the peaceful deaths she witnessed), and accompanying them to doctor appointments.
Now retired at the Convent of Mount Saint Vincent, she fills her days by being with many Sisters on their medical appointments, and has come to appreciate their feelings about seeing doctors. Assistance with walking and getting in and out of the car is another need. Her companioning is gratefully appreciated.
Sister Kieran’s ministry of support also includes sitting and conversing with those who might need a visit. This also includes her Irish humor that lightens the hearts of those around her at table, and those she meets throughout the day. Praying for and with her Sisters is also part of her ministry, especially the rosary, and sharing with them on a deeper level.
Sister Kieran sees the Mission of Charity being lived into the future as the charism of Vincent, Louise, and Elizabeth grows through our Associates and in our sponsored works. Contact with students from the College of Mount Saint Vincent at supper or other events and with student nurses and staff provides grist for her prayer life and is mutually enriching. That spirit has also been planted in Guatemala; in the Novitiate, the Barbara Ford Peacebuilding Center, and in the many Associates there. Student nurses from the college complete the circle as many donate service to the clinics in Guatemala during their spring break.
Companioning those in need has always been Sister Kieran’s life and motto. It serves her well, and brings joy and comfort to others.
Ed. Note: Sister Kieran taught at St. Joseph, Yonkers (1960–70); St. Mary, Wappingers Falls (1970–2000); St. Anthony, Yonkers (2000–12).