Sister M. Mildred Louise, CSC
(Mildred Louise Keegan)
January 11, 1919 – February 2, 2019
Entered the Sisters of the Holy Cross from Washington, D.C. on July 31, 1938
Initial Profession of Vows on February 2, 1941
“Now, Lord, you may dismiss your servant in peace.” (Lk. 2:29) Sister M. Mildred Louise died at Saint Mary’s Convent on the 78th anniversary of her initial profession as a Sister of the Holy Cross.
In 1991, Sister Mildred Louise wrote a short reflection on the anniversary of her 50 years since her first profession of vows. She imagined God’s presence in her life as that of a weaver creating a tapestry on canvas. Sister considered herself as a work-in-progress. She saw “vivid colors intermingle with shaded and darker colors” as she listed God’s gifts to her: “the Church, my vocation, my community of the Sisters of the Holy Cross, family members, special friends, students, and co-workers.”
The “bright and dark tints of life’s joys and sorrows, separations and reunions” were threaded through ministries in education, catechetics, pastoral services, finance, teacher training and formation across continents in the United States, Brazil, Guatemala, and Uganda. Sister Mildred Louise cautioned that the flip-side of the canvas or tapestry was a little messy after so many years, but she trusted God to give her a “gentle touch-up” before bringing this work of her life to completion.
Mildred Louise was the daughter of Mary Turner and Harry Keegan in a family of 10 children. The Keegans claimed Washington, D.C. as their home. “Millie” met the Sisters of the Holy Cross when she attended Saint Cecilia’s Academy on Capitol Hill and applied to the Congregation at age 19, after working for a year in a government job as a secretary.
In the convent, Sister Mildred Louise was amply prepared professionally with a B.A. in Education from Saint Mary’s College (1961); M.A. from Saint Mary’s School of Theology (1966), and M.A. in Education from the Pontifical Catholic University, São Paulo, Brazil (1959). Another M.A. in Education at Xavier University satisfied stateside requirements (1979).
Sister Mildred Louise may have started in 1941 as a teacher in classrooms at St. Paul’s School in New York, New York and Chevy Chase, Maryland, but her heart was always in mission. From 1949-1963 she served in Brazil in every educational capacity at the Sisters of the Holy Cross foundation in São Paulo, Brazil. She was a spiritual mentor and teacher for young women being formed to consecrated life at Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame, Indiana (1963-1965) and for the Association for Religious in Uganda at Jinja and Ibanda, Mbarara, then the Banyateresa Novitiate in Fort Portal (1968-1972). Sister Mildred Louise served locally in South Bend, Indiana when she stepped in temporarily to assist the Religious Education Office for the Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend in 1973. She was a chaplain in Columbus, Ohio twice at Mount Carmel Medical Center (1974-1979, 1985-1986).
Sister had lived at Saint Mary’s, the motherhouse, since 1986 continuing to use her many gifts to foster community life. Like the old woman, Anna, in the temple, “she had served God night and day.” (Lk. 2:37) In 2002 Sister Mildred Louise began her full-time ministry of prayer at Saint Mary’s for the mission of the Congregation and in thanksgiving for its benefactors and friends. Sister recently celebrated her 100th birthday with the sisters and family. Every warp and woof had been filled in; the last thread cut. Surely her prayer was, as at her jubilee, “My heartfelt thanksgiving and gratitude for all, and to all, as the past and present unfold….”
Kaniewski Funeral Home is handling arrangements. Services will be held in the Church of Our Lady of Loretto on Thursday, February 7, 2019 with 9:00 a.m. Visitation and 10:15 a.m. Prayers, Memento, immediately followed by the Mass of Resurrection. You are invited to donate in Sister’s name to the Sisters of the Holy Cross Ministry with the Poor Fund at www.cscsisters.org