Kathleen Kane: 50 years of sisterhood

Kathleen KaneIn 2010, Sister Kathleen Kane celebrated her 50-year anniversary in The Sisters of St. Mary of Namur. “That means I entered religious life when I was three years old,” she jokes.

Kane’s history with the church — Sisters take the same vows of poverty, chastity and obedience as nuns, but do not live behind cloistered walls — has left her uniquely qualified for her responsibilities as the Pastoral Associate at St. Francis, where she’s spent ten years. “These are challenging times for the church,” she says, “but I love to share the beauty of 2,000 years of tradition.”

Kane says one of her favorite jobs at St. Francis is assisting with wedding preparations; she makes sure that paperwork is completed, documents are collected and  the couple understands ceremony guidelines. It’s a serious job, and she admits she’s handled some pretty animated situations. “I’ve handled every crisis you can think of,” including, but not limited to, fainting fathers and missing flowers.

Over the years, the Sisters’ mission to “be at the service of those in need” has taken Kane to both parochial schools and unconventional settings. The Sisters have  been in South Carolina for 60 years, where they’ve often lived and worked among the poor. “I learned to pick tobacco with the people, although I was never an expert,” she says.

Those experiences have taught her that happiness doesn’t depend on what you have. “It’s people, the beauty and the opportunity for ministry,” she says.

Happily, Kane says she’s found plenty of each on Hilton Head, especially in its commitment to preservation of natural beauty and the way people — especially the retired — choose to give back to the community at places like the St. Francis Thrift Shop, Deep Well and Volunteers in Medicine. “It makes a welcoming, outgoing community and a wonderful place to live and work,” she says.