Then and Now

Sister Kathleen Israel grew up in Detroit, in good Catholic family of five children where her faith was strong. She and her family – parents, three sisters and one brother – said the rosary and went to Mass together during Lent.

She has fond memories of visiting her aunt, Sister Mary Edwin Israel, at the IHM Motherhouse. Her aunt, along with the sisters at St. Cecilia, had a strong influence on Sister Kathleen’s desire to become a religious. Her family also had a warm relationship with the IHM Sisters in the parish. “My mother took them shopping and took them gifts at Christmas,” she recalls.

When Sister Kathleen entered high school, she started to consider joining the congregation. She prayed a great deal about it and “decided to give it a try. God had a hold of my heart.” Once she entered the community, she knew she had made the right decision. She felt peace, knowing with certainty she was where God wanted her to be.

Sister Kathleen enjoyed the camaraderie during her postulate and novitiate. “We laughed and giggled,” she says. When she left the novitiate to teach 60 first- and second-graders at St. Joseph School in Monroe, everything went well. “God was always there,” she notes. She taught the primary grades at schools throughout Michigan for 15 years. Once she completed a master’s degree in education with a cognate in American history from the University of Detroit, she taught grades four through eight for another 13 years in several Michigan schools and in Hollywood, Fla.

Later in her career, Sister Kathleen worked in pastoral and parish ministry. She loved working in RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) because it “was a whole new spiritual training.” She enjoyed working with adults and going to workshops.

She found everything to be so meaningful working in RCIA. Her work really brought to life the meaning of the call “to bring others to Jesus; to introduce them to the spiritual life.” Sister Kathleen got involved with serving the homeless. She was moved by some of the people’s stories that have stuck with her for years. “For the first time I felt like I was really doing something,” she says. Her spirituality was enhanced and deepened during this time in her life.

She has faith in prayer and feels blessed by the care she receives and the friends she has in the community. Her greatest joy since joining the community has been to be able to know God better. “I am involved with God and God’s work – bringing the world to peace and justice and truth and honesty,” she says.

Sister Kathleen has felt the Holy Spirit throughout her life. She is most grateful for all the opportunities she has had for her training and spirituality. “I am grateful for this community. And I think this community is the best.”

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