Sister Kathleen Dueber: Taking the wheel on a new Ursuline pilgrimage

Sister Pat Lynch, who also served on the council, called Sister Kathleen “reliable, honest, and caring,” and said she is very close with her family. Both she and Sister Kathleen Condry list Sister Kathleen’s sense of humor as one of her great assets.

“She is very good at making puns,” Sister Pat said.

“She and I took a Spanish class together 46 years ago, and the two of us can still recite the dialogues we had to memorize!” Sister Pat said.

Growing up among the sunflowers

Sister Kathleen hands Sister Michele Morek soil from Kansas after arriving with a group of sisters who moved to the Motherhouse in June 2009.

Sister Kathleen was born in Kansas City, Mo., where she lived until the fifth grade. Her older sister, Mary Ellen, was in the seventh grade, and the Catholic Schools only went to the seventh in Kansas City. “My parents wanted my sister and me to go to Catholic school, so Daddy looked for property where he could build a house,” Sister Kathleen said. He found that in the Kansas City, Kan., suburb of Roeland Park, close enough for his daughters to walk to school.

That school was St. Agnes, where Sister Kathleen first met the Ursuline Sisters. “It was so amazing to me, the sisters seemed to like each other and like the kids. I found that in high school too,” she said. “I saw something in them that I wanted to be.”

George Dueber was a carpenter, and Martha Dueber was a housewife until the summer before Sister Kathleen’s eighth grade year, when she took a job at a dress shop in nearby Fairway, Kan. “It was fortunate she had that income, because my dad died of a heart attack when I was a sophomore in high school,” Sister Kathleen said. George Dueber was only 57 when he died in 1960.

“He was a great guy, a good family man,” Sister Kathleen said. “He was always helping other people. He built the shelter for the Nativity scene at St. Agnes Church. Mom was in the Altar Society and helped with the Girl Scouts. That’s the first place I got the example of serving in the church, from my parents.”

George Dueber’s death was hard on the family. One of her dad’s sisters came to live with the family to help with expenses, and her sister Mary Ellen got a job after graduating high school as well.

In 2008, Sister Kathleen brought Paola Sisters Celine Leeker and Mildred Katzer to visit Maple Mount. Here they are joined by their hosts for that visit, (seated, from left) Sister Mildred and Sister Frances Miriam Spalding; (standing from left) Sister Mary Angela Matthews, Sister Kathleen, Sister Jane Miriam Hancock, and Sister Celine.

Sister Kathleen was a member of the first class to attend all four years of high school at the new Bishop Miege High School in Roeland Park. She was reunited there with Sister Martina Rockers, who taught her in the sixth grade at St. Agnes, and was then teaching biology at Bishop Miege. Sister Martina will soon begin her 52nd year at Bishop Miege.

“She was always a very good student,” Sister Martina said, although penmanship was not her favorite endeavor. (Sister Kathleen’s only D in her educational career was in penmanship.)

The strength of her family life was evident after Sister Kathleen’s father died, Sister Martina said. “I always admired how she and her sister supported one another.”

Other teachers at Bishop Miege included Sister Grace Swift (algebra and history) and Sister Raymond Dieckman for Latin. Both sisters are now retired to the Motherhouse in Maple Mount. “It’s not Sister Raymond’s fault I can’t speak Latin,” Sister Kathleen said.

Sister Grace remembers Sister Kathleen as a very good student. “It was a school in which a lot of girls were considering joining the convent,” Sister Grace said. “We were glad she joined. Her class had some of the best students I ever taught.”

Sister Martina called Sister a Kathleen a “faithful” and “faith-filled” person. “She notices things that others don’t.”