Sister Mary Eileen Kenney, C.S.J., a Sister of St. Joseph for 62 years, died July 5 in St. Joseph Convent, Brentwood.
She entered the congregation in 1950 from St. Paul parish, Hancock, N.Y. She earned a bachelor’s degree in social studies from St. John’s University, Jamaica, and a master’s in history from Manhattan College.
Formerly Sister Mary Bridgetine, her ministries included Our Lady of Lourdes, Bushwick, 1952-58; Sacred Heart Seminary, Hempstead, 1958-66; Holy Family H.S., Huntington, 1966-84; and St. Anthony H.S., Huntington, 1984-2010.
Burial was in Calvary Cemetery, Brentwood.
One thought on “Obituary – Sister Mary Eileen Kenney, C.S.J.”
Sister Mary Eileen Kenney (or “SMEK,” as she sometimes was affectionately known) inspired and mentored me in ways that I understand only now to have changed the course of my life in innumerable good ways. She was a tough and demanding teacher who refused to let us settle for less than the best we could give; she showed me what a complicated but rewarding discipline history in particular could be and how exciting the life of the mind always is; and at a critical moment when, I realize now, I was standing at a fork in the road, she hired me as a history teacher, leading me to realize that teaching was my true calling in life. She burned with an uncompromising love for teaching, learning, history, ideas, and her students that I can describe only as Irish to the core, a description I know she would like and appreciate very much. I only hope and pray that she knew how well she had served me, her many thousands of students, her order, and her faith in God. I am forever grateful to her and I will never forget her; she will remain in my prayers until I leave this earth as well, and after that too.
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