Sister Kathleen Newell
1920 – 2021
Born: 13 December 1920
Entered Religious Life: 2nd October 1939
Died: 9th December 2021
Kathleen Christina Newell, born December 13, 1920, daughter of Thomas Newell and Norah Brett was the third child of ten children, three sisters and six brothers.
1920 saw the War of Independence begin in earnest in Ireland with an escalation in violence. A few months after Kathleen was born, Ireland was partitioned and Northern Ireland was created and remains within the United Kingdom to this day. Ireland was in turmoil and in the throes of civil war and although an uneasy peace followed in 1922, a period of great economic uncertainty and austerity had to be endured in the years to come. This was the external backdrop to Kathleen’s childhood.
Having been born into a rural farming family in Headford, Co. Galway, Kathleen attended the local school there and while finishing secondary school in Dublin She was drawn to religious life. She entered the Religious Sisters o Charity on October 2, 1939. This was not surprising coming from a family with a long history of vocations to religious life. Two of her brothers were Carmelites and one sister a Presentation sister. Kathleen received the name Francis Paul when she was accept into the Novitiate in 1940. After Sister’s First Profession in 1942 she was assigned to Mountjoy Street and later to St. Vincent’ s Cork.
Sr. Kathleen made her Final Profession on May 6 1945 and having had an adventurous and missionary spirit from a young age it came as no surprise when she volunteered to be one of the pioneering sisters to come to Los Angeles, California. This took place on September 22, 1953. St Cornelius was our first foundation in the US and Kathleen was assigned to teach there, which she did until 1957 when she was missioned to St. Bridget of Sweden as their first Principal.
Sr. Kathleen continued her role as an exceptional educator dedicating herself to Special Needs children She also served in St. Columbian, Garden Grove, St. Hedwig Los Alamito, Our Lady of Fatima, San Clemente and was beloved by all who were privileged to know her.
When Sr. Kathleen retired from teaching she ministered in Pastoral care in Marycrest Manor until she transferred to Huron Ave in 2002. While in Huron Ave she volunteered in many ministries including but not limited to Eucharistic ministry to the homebound, prisoners, part-time remedial. She took great delight in the beauty of nature and caring for God’s creation. There she remained until her health failed, when she expressed a desire to be cared for by the Carmelites Sisters in Marycrest Manor.
Sr. Kathleen was a fountain of sound advice and of course her sense of fun and good humor would give a lift to the saddest of hearts. Sr. Kathleen was above all else religious. She had a deep humility and an enduring shyness. She used all sorts of machinations to evade any spotlight being put on her.
She died peaceful surrounded by our sisters on December 9, 2021 four days short of her 101 birthday.