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

Following her sister’s death, Sister Kathleen’s mother decided she wanted to sell the family home that she’d lived in since her husband built it in the 1950s. She sold the house and was allowed to live in the Paola motherhouse, as some other mothers of sisters had done in the past, Sister Kathleen said.

“She loved it. She could go to Mass every day and she had people to crochet with,” Sister Kathleen said. The two of them took several vacations together over the years. “She’d provide the car and I’d do the driving,” she said. They traveled to Colorado, Montana, British Columbia, and Washington, D.C. Her mother lived the last five years of her life at the motherhouse, dying just shy of her 89th birthday in January 2000.

Following her ministry at Monica Hall, Sister Kathleen took a sabbatical near St. Louis that explored women’s potential. While there, someone came in to offer massage, and Sister Kathleen was intrigued by the thought of doing the same.

“I liked the idea of using my hands to make people feel better,” she said, perhaps her father’s influence on her. “My dad made me a hammer, I loved working with my hands,” she said. She got training in massage therapy and began that as a ministry in 1997, one that she continued until leaving Paola in 2009.

Sister Kathleen receives congratulations from Sister Kathleen Condry, left, following the installation Mass. The two served together on the Leadership Council in Paola.

Additional ministries during her last decade in Paola included preparing the sisters’ medical bills for payment, and serving as sacristan at the motherhouse. In 2002, she added her role as a councilor until the merger in 2008.

Sister on the move

Sister Kathleen would love to have a summer to drive around the United States and visit the places she wants to see. She’d like to the visit the Atlantic coast of North Carolina, American Revolution sites in Boston and Philadelphia, and would welcome a return to Glacier National Park in Montana, she said.

She is an avid sports fan, and remains a devoted fan of baseball’s Kansas City Royals, the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs, and Kansas University’s basketball team, although she is making an effort to root for the University of Kentucky. She was in a bowling league during high school, and loves watching most college and pro sports.

“She was the only one who would play football with us,” Traffis said.

Sister Kathleen Condry especially appreciated how Sister Kathleen Dueber used her love of sports to be a friend to her. “As a high school administrator, I had an endless number of sports events to supervise, and that’s really not my thing,” Sister Kathleen Condry said. “She’d sit with me through baseball games, soccer games, basketball games …”

In her spare time Sister Kathleen reads and watches mysteries and police dramas. “I like to see if I can solve it before they do,” she said. She loves history, and is studying up on the Mount Saint Joseph past, currently reading “Candles of the Lord,” the history of the Ursulines years of ministering in New Mexico. “I want to know it all, where it all fits in,” she said.

She’ll be part of writing the next chapter in Ursuline history as a council member, taking the wheel and seeing where the next pilgrimage lies.

By Dan Heckel