Sister Rosemary Keough, 81, an Ursuline Sister of Mount Saint Joseph, died Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020, at Owensboro Health, in her 63rd year of religious life. She was a native of Auburn, N.Y. Her former religious name was Sister Thomas Catherine.
Sister Rosemary had a missionary’s heart, and though she loved all of her ministries, it was the 18 years she spent empowering Hispanics through Centro Latino that was her favorite. From 2000-2018, she drove clients to doctor’s appointments in neighboring counties, where she interpreted for them and helped them navigate American life. The people she served called her “Hermana Rosa Maria.”
She graduated from Mount Saint Joseph Academy, Maple Mount, in 1956. She graduated from Brescia College, Owensboro, Ky., in 1967, and earned a master’s degree from Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, Ky., in 1973.
She was a teacher at St. Andrew School, Harrodsburg, Ky. (1959-62), St. Sebastian School, Calhoun, Ky. (1962-64) and Mount Saint Joseph Academy, Maple Mount (1969-76, 1980-82), where she also taught many girls to drive. She was one of the first Ursuline Sisters to serve in adult religious education, spending five years serving the Diocese of Lincoln, Neb. (1964-69). She was a consultant in language arts for the Archdiocese of Louisville Catholic Schools (1976-80). She was a pastoral worker for Divino Maestro in Chillan, Chile (1982-84). She was coordinator of religious education at St. Charles School, Albuquerque, N.M. (1985-88). She worked with the Contemporary Woman Program and Student Support Services at Brescia College, Owensboro (1988-93) then came to the Motherhouse as director of activities and liturgy (1993-99.) She learned Spanish in Texas for four months before starting with Centro Latino in 2000. She served as an information receptionist at the Motherhouse from 2018-20.
Survivors include the members of her religious community and siblings Sara Scully and John Roger Keough, both of Shepherdsville, Ky., and Thomas Patrick Keough Jr., Westmont, Ill.
In compliance with health and public safety directives, the funeral and wake service will be private. The wake service is at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 30, the funeral Mass at 10:30 a.m. Dec. 1 at Mount Saint Joseph.
Glenn Funeral Home and Crematory, Owensboro, is handling arrangements.
Donations in memory of Sister Rosemary may be made to the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph, 8001 Cummings Road, Maple Mount, KY 42356
In Remembrance of Sister Rosemary Keough, OSU
November 30, 2020
Sister Pat Lynch, OSU, Assistant Congregational Leader
Rosemary Ellen Keough was born on December 11, 1938, in Auburn, New York. She died on November 21, 2020 in her 63rd year of religious life. Her parents were Thomas Patrick Keough and Catherine Agnes Scully. Family survivors include her sister, Sara, and her brothers, John Roger and Thomas Patrick. We offer our sympathy and prayers to them. She is also survived by the members of her religious community.
Rosemary was baptized on January 15, 1939 and confirmed on October 17, 1948 in St. Patrick’s Church in Aurora, New York. Rosemary went to First Grade at Sherwood School in Sherwood, New York and then went to elementary school at Holy Family School in Auburn, New York. She spent her fifth-grade year at Aurora Elementary School in Aurora, New York, and her sixth-grade year was back at Holy Family. Then her father, Tom Keough, who worked for International Harvester, was asked to move to Louisville by the company. So Rosemary went to St. Denis in Louisville for her 7th and 8th grade years, where she was taught by Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph. For high school, she came to Mount Saint Joseph Academy, where she graduated in 1956. One piece of the Mount that Rosemary kept was the flute she played through all four years of high school.
Rosemary entered the Ursuline community on September 7, 1956. Her classmates who remain include: Sisters Lois Lindle and Grace Simpson to whom we extend our sympathy. Rosemary was received into the Novitiate on August 14, 1957 and she received the religious name of Sister Thomas Catherine, after her parents. She professed first vows on August 15, 1959 and made her final profession of vows on August 15, 1962. She attended Brescia College and received her Bachelor’s degree from there in 1967. She earned a Master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling from Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green in 1974.
Her first teaching assignment was at St. Andrew’s School in Harrodsburg, KY where she taught grades 4 and 5, and also worked with the choir, as well as piano and organ lessons. From 1962-64 she taught grades 1-4 at St. Sebastian’s in Calhoun, KY. Then she spent five years in the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska in the Adult Catechetical Program. From 1969-1976 she was at Mount Saint Joseph Academy where she was a teacher of Religion, English, Driver’s Education, Journalism, and Speedreading; a Dorm Mother, Newspaper Moderator and Moderator of a Mission group called SOUL. In 1976 she went to Louisville and was a consultant in Language Arts there until 1980. After that she returned to Mount Saint Joseph Academy and taught for two years. She then spent two years in Chile as a Pastoral Worker. From 1985-1988 she was coordinator of religious education at Saint Charles School in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Next, she worked with the Contemporary Woman Program and Student Support Services at Brescia College until 1993. For the next six years, she served at the Motherhouse as Director of Activities and Director of Liturgy. During that time, Sister Rosemary said she knew there was a need for a Hispanic mission in western Kentucky. She and Sister Jacinta Powers had worked briefly together in Chile years earlier and Sister Jacinta was now on the Leadership Council. She asked Sister Rosemary what she wanted to do next. Her response was that she wanted to learn Spanish and work with Hispanics. So, in August of 1999, she studied Spanish for four months at the Mexican American Cultural Center in Texas. This helped to prepare her for her favorite mission: in January 2000, she joined Sister Fran at Centro Latino. She described how this came about: “I called Fran and asked if she needed help. Fran jumps on things like a bird on a June bug. Before I had time to think, she’d cleared it with the Council.” They worked together well at Centro Latino, helping to empower the people, and making them independent.
When Sister Rosemary began working at Centro Latino, her classmate and friend, Sister Lois Lindle said of her, “She’s in the perfect occupation. She’s laid back and takes things as they come. She fits in perfectly with her ministry. She can take on the world and she doesn’t get rattled.” Sister Lois also noted Sister Rosemary’s ability to laugh at herself. In an article, she said “My tombstone someday will say, ‘The Great Procrastinator.’”
In her file, there was a letter from a former Superior stating: “Sister Rosemary has the heart of a missionary: compassionate, gentle, resourceful and justice-oriented…she has a deep love for her Hispanic brothers and sisters and an understanding of their needs. She is a perpetual learner and is unafraid to confront new situations. She has a self-assurance and a confidence which enables her to take the ‘high road’ in the events of life. She is a transforming individual and is deeply engaged in living.”
Sister Rosemary enjoyed her life and she enjoyed helping many people, who appreciated her ability to assist them in adjusting to a new country and a new life. She pursued social justice wherever it was lacking and was not afraid to march in peaceful protests.
In 2018, Sister Rosemary moved to the Villa but continued to help by taking a turn as a Receptionist at the front desk. Her sense of humor never left her, and she enjoyed visits from relatives and friends. We offer our gratitude to the staff of the Villa for taking such good care of Sister Rosemary.
And now, Sister Rosemary, you have joined Sister Fran and many others where you are face to face with our loving God. May you know the fullness of God’s love and may you rest in peace.