In Memory

Sister Kathleen Theresa O’Dea, IHM

October 4, 1931 – July 2, 2012

Sister Kathleen Theresa O’Dea, IHM, (formerly known as Sister Mary Martin) of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on Monday, July 2, 2012 at Regional Hospital in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

She was born on October 4, 1931 in Brooklyn, NY. She was the daughter of the late James J. and Catherine Cullinane O’Dea. She entered the IHM Congregation on September 7, 1949 and made her temporary profession of vows on May 8, 1952 and her final profession of vows on August 2, 1955.

Sister Kathleen served as a principal at the following schools: St. Thomas Elementary School in Coeur d’Alene, ID, from 1962 to 1964; St. Rita Elementary School in Baltimore, MD, from 1964 to 1968; St. Matthew Elementary School in Wilmington, DE, from 1976 to 1982; and St. Dominic Elementary School in Oyster Bay, NY, from 1982 to 1984.

Sister served as a teacher at the following schools: Cathedral Elementary School in Scranton, PA, from 1952 to 1955; St. Edward Elementary School in Twin Falls, ID, from 1955 to 1959; St. Thomas Elementary School in Coeur d’Alene, ID, from 1959 to 1962; St. Ephrem Elementary School in Brooklyn, NY, from 1984 to 1994; and Notre Dame Elementary School in East Stroudsburg, PA, from 1995 to 2000.

She also served as sector coordinator at the IHM Generalate in Scranton, PA, from 1968 to 1976; support staff member at the Marian Convent in Scranton, PA, from 2000 to 2004; prayer minister at the Marian Convent in Scranton, PA, from 2004 to 2006; and office assistant in the Communications Office at the IHM Center in Scranton, PA, from 2006 to 2008.

From 2008 until the time of her death, Sister Kathleen served as a prayer minister at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton.

She received a Bachelor of Science degree in education from Marywood College, and a Master of Science degree in administration from Duquesne University.

She is preceded in death by a sister, Mary O’Dea Backus.

She is survived by a brother, James of Brooklyn, NY, and a sister, Bernadette Murphy of Manahawkin, NJ.

The funeral will be Friday, July 6, at 11:00 a.m. with Mass of Christian Burial at Our Lady of Peace Residence, 2300 Adams Avenue in Scranton. Friends may call at Our Lady of Peace Residence on Thursday, July 5, between 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. A prayer service will be held at 4:00 p.m. Interment will follow Mass on Friday at St. Catherine’s Cemetery in Moscow, PA.

Memorial contributions may be made to support the retired IHM Sisters c/o the IHM Sisters Retirement Fund, IHM Center, 2300 Adams Avenue, Scranton, PA 18509.

Reprinted from “In Memoriam” section of Journey, Fall 2012 issue

Sister Kathleen O’Dea was a woman of lively, heart-warming spirit.

I met her in her younger days when as sector superior she came and visited our convent, St. Dominic’s Convent in Oyster Bay. How we all enjoyed her visits! Happiness prevailed and we always persuaded her to do some Irish dancing for us. She was truly a champion.

These were the days when many were leaving the congregation. During my talk with her she assured me that if ever I or my friends needed help she would do whatever she could to help us. I have never forgotten that kindness.

Professionally, she was an excellent teacher, principal, and administrator. Those were her younger days.

When Sister Kathleen came as a resident to the Marian Convent, I was a resident and staff member there. We shared friendship in the last eleven years of her life.

Just as trees in late autumn and winter drop their leaves and reveal to all what they’ve done with their time of growth, so do we show clearly what we have become in our later years.

Sister Kathleen continued to minister to others by her prayers, hospital visits, prayerful visits to the bedsides of the dying and generous gifts to the needy.

In household 4A, Sister Kathleen was mindful of everyone and was an uplifting, kindly presence.

In her last few months, we could clearly see her concern for others and her love of God. She was confident in God’s love and mercy.

Sister Kathleen, “may you keep safe in the gentle, loving arms of God.”

by Richard Mary Peters, IHM

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