Who Am I?
I was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the oldest of four in a Slovenian and Polish family. We could walk to twelve churches, each a different nationality. As a child, I dreamed of being a teacher. In the seventh grade, I decided to become a teaching Sister. Right after my 18th birthday, I joined the Sisters of Notre Dame. (See www.sndusa.org) Before returning to my baptismal name, I was Sister Mary Kirene, a name I derived from the chi-rho (X, P) symbol for Christ. My feast day is Christ the King in November. All of us SNDs have a form of Mary in our names.
I graduated from Hodge School in the sixth grade. Then I went to St. Francis School for two years and to Notre Dame Academy, which moved to Chardon at the end of my sophomore year. I hold a BA degree from Notre Dame College of Ohio and have served as president of its Alumni Association. My MA degree is in secondary education (English) from the University of Minnesota.
I’ve taught in Catholic schools and CCD programs (every grade from first to twelfth) and conducted Bible study courses for parishes and diocesan religion courses for catechists. For three years I served as vocation director (recruiter) for my community and for the Diocese of Cleveland. I’ve been on the staff of St. Dominic Parish in Shaker Heights, Cleveland. Now I live in a Notre Dame Village apartment. There I play the piano for the residents each Sunday and arrange musical programs for holidays. In our provincial center I am a soprano in the choir, a reader, and a cross bearer. My full-time occupation is writing, editing, publishing other people’s books, and giving talks and retreats.
In 1979, I began writing for publication while teaching religion and English at Regina High School. At the prompting of another Sister, I submitted a paper on religious life for publication. “The Joy No One Can Take from Us” appeared in Review for Religious. Bitten by the writing bug, I corrected students’ papers on Friday night and planned the next week’s lessons on Saturday. This left Sunday free to write. I rose at 6:00 a.m. to spend as much time as possible writing articles. Several of these were published, including one in the Sunday Magazine of Cleveland’s The Plain Dealer. After reading my article in Review for Religious, a bishop in Nigeria sent me an airmail letter in which he quoted Saint Teresa of Calcutta: “Write, for if your writing should make anyone more aware of God and their neighbor, then you must write.” My writing hobby blossomed into a full-time ministry when I was assigned for two years to the team writing a Benziger high school religion series.
Later, I became general editor of my community’s Loyola elementary school religion series Christ Our Life and saw it through three revisions over a span of 13 years. In this position I wrote two preschool programs (one for three-year-olds and one for four-year-olds) that won an international award. I also was editor and author for a children’s version of the Little Rock Scripture Study published by Liturgical Press. For two years I wrote a column in Religion Teacher’s Journal. I also wrote for Ave Maria Press’s and St. Mary Press’s high school series and the Maronite elementary school series, Faith of the Mountain. So far I’ve had more than ninety books published, including my first novel, a historical romance: The Fisherman’s Wife: The Gospel According to St. Peter’s Spouse.
Occasionally I speak at national and diocesan conventions and give workshops and retreats. In fact, my first book was the result of the first time I spoke in public. It was at the NCEA convention in Anaheim. After putting so much work into the talk “Twenty-Six Ways to Lead Students into Scripture,” I decided to give it a longer life by turning it into 26 chapters, which Twenty-Third Publications published in 1987. In 2010 and 2011 I was a featured speaker at a two-day conference for catechists from six Arab countries. In 2014, I again spoke in Dubai and in Oman.
I enjoy reading (naturally), playing the piano, crocheting baby blankets ( which are sold in our gift store and at our annual September Barbeque and Boutique) and working crossword puzzles.
Contact Information for Sister Kathleen:
13000 Auburn Rd.
Chardon, Ohio 44024