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Jubilee celebration

by Bea McMahon, RSHMCategory: Updates

Smiling jubilarians pose in two rows in front of the wooden and marble wall of the church below stained glass windows.
Front Row L to R: Virginia Dorgan, RSHM; Anne Walsh, RSHM; Edna O’Connor, RSHM; Angela Maloney, RSHM; and Francis of Assisi Kay, RSHM. Back Row L to R: Kathleen Kanet, RSHM; Maureen Kelleher, RSHM; Georgette Lawton, RSHM; Anna Maria Lionetti, RSHM; and Mary Alice Young, RSHM.

April 30 dawned bright and clear for the 10 RSHM Jubilarians celebrated on that day. Father Phil Kelly set a joyful tone in a memorable Eucharistic Liturgy. His “God is good!” elicited an enthusiastic “All the time!” Aretha Franklin’s song How I Got Over with its fitting words… “My soul looks back in wonder…” provided a framework for his reflection on the contributions of women religious to the life of the Church: bringing Vatican II to life in the USA, holding the mystery in a spirit of contemplation, creating space for dialogue and, especially at this time, showing us how to let go. The seed must die so that new life may spring forth. His reflections culminated with the RSHM quest THAT ALL MAY HAVE LIFE!

At the end of the liturgy, Sister Bea McMahon, RSHM, toasted the 60-, 65-, and 70-year jubilarians in tributes of diamond, platinum and sapphire:

Let’s start with the sapphire:

Sister Francis of Assisi Kay

Citizen of the world with a spiritual heart beyond latitude and longitude, and a bodily heart that simply will not give up! We salute you today, dear Francis, our elder and wisdom figure, on your 75th anniversary of Profession.

And now, on to the brilliant platinum:

Sister Angela Maloney

Gentle woman, quiet light. If the little ones she prepared for First Communion could line up in their special outfits today, the procession would dazzle us, and probably reach all the way to heaven!

Sister Edna O’Connor

A nurturer of life in many venues, bringing the concepts of her Headstart experience in Virginia to the school she founded for children of AIDS victims in Africa—model of creative initiative in service to those in need. 

Sister Anne Walsh,

whose name will be forever associated with Fordham University. Cheers from the athletes she has tutored, counseled and accompanied long after their graduation would raise the roof of our chapel today.

And now to our diamonds, many-faceted, reflecting the whole spectrum of light:

Sister Virginia Dorgan

Jinny, faithful friend, advocate for justice and peace, a delightful blend of southern charm and northern light.

Sister Kathleen Kanet

Promoter of dialogue, not just in the living room but in the public forum as well. Ever ready to challenge, but also to cheer.

Sister Maureen Kelleher

I think the Pope had her in mind when he called the world to care for immigrants. From Puerto Ricans in the South Bronx to Guatemalans in Immokalee, she’s been right there, seeing their needs as well as their gifts.

Sister Georgette Lawton

Come on a My House must have been written for her. Having experienced the needs of the homeless in shelters for years, Georgette, with Melchior, founded Columba Kavanagh House in 1985, and has never left there. Who else do you know who has been tireless in sheltering the homeless for 40 years?

Sr. Anna Maria Lionetti

You may chat with her over a cappuccino, or perhaps a tequila. This lover of Italia has also been south of the border. Wherever she goes she leaves a little of her heart and takes with her treasured friendships.

Sr. Mary Alice Young

With a photographic memory, surely recalls in vivid detail every person and event in the 60 years celebrated today. Among the many places involved, Chicago and Rome may be at the top of the list.

So we lift up our prayers, and in a little while our glasses, for our Jubilarians. They are our TOP TEN women today, totaling 645 years of consecrated life. Looking back and looking forward, please join me in saying the words we know so well:


The joy of the liturgy carried over to the festive meal shared by the jubilarians with family and friends.


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