Sr. Kathleen Ryan, OSB, has a passion for God and the heart of a servant. That combination is what led her to become a member of the Order of St. Benedict 56 years ago. It’s also what brought her to Mother of God parish last fall to help prepare children for the sacraments of Reconciliation, Eucharist and Confirmation.
“Sr. Dorothy Schuette stopped me one evening and asked if I’d be willing to put the sacramental program here in order,” she explained. “I saw a need, so I agreed.”
Seeing a need and filling it has guided her footsteps since she was a child.
Sr. Kathleen is a native Kentuckian, born and raised in Erlanger by her parents, Pat and Margie. She has five sisters and one brother and was a student at St. Henry’s from first grade through high school.
Being part of a big family set the stage for her life’s calling.
“I love people of all ages,” she says. “I especially love children. I see the Divine in all of them, and it increases my love for God.”
As a Benedictine sister, she chose to become an elementary teacher, starting with her first assignment at Holy Cross in Latonia. Through the years, she taught grades 1 through 8, leaving the area only once to teach third grade in La Junta, CO, for a year. She has also served as director of religious education in several Northern Kentucky parishes. Before coming to Mother of God, she taught art at Prince of Peace School.
When she’s not in the classroom, Sr. Kathleen enjoys walking and gardening. “I’m an outdoors person,” she says. “I love Nature and the beauty God put there for us to enjoy. I’m fascinated, too, by the scientific part of it – the awe and mystery of planting a seed in the ground and understanding how it grows.”
She’s settling into her role at Mother of God parish a little more each day.
“The staff just couldn’t be better,” she says. “I felt like I belonged here the minute I walked in the door. I’m in awe of the church – it’s a beautiful work of art. And the people are very friendly. I want to get to know them more, and I hope they will get to know me – not just for what I do, but who I am.”
For now, her biggest challenge is preparing 25 kids for Confirmation.
“I’m hoping to find four young couples or four individuals who would be willing to help by working with a small group of students,” she says. “I haven’t had any volunteers yet.”
Steeped as she is in teaching, the soft-spoken sister maintains a strong sense of curiosity and even has a bucket list.
“I’d like to take a helicopter ride,” she says, “and I’m toying with the idea of ziplining. I would love to travel to all 50 states, and I’d love to walk in someone else’s shoes for a while, just to see what their life is like, maybe live on a farm and experience that lifestyle. There’s so much more to learn that I know I’ll never have time for.”
Would you like to suggest a parishioner to be the subject of a Who’s in the Pews article? If so, please tell us!