Franciscan Sister Irene Kelly dies at 98

ROCHESTER, Minn.—Sister Irene Kelly, 98, a Franciscan Sister of the Congregation of Our Lady of Lourdes, died Feb. 8.

A funeral Mass was held Feb. 13 and she was buried at Calvary Cemetery in Rochester.

She was born Katherine Cecilia Kelly to John and Mary Donovan Kelly in Stewartville, Minn., on Nov. 8, 1912. She entered the Sisters of St. Francis in 1940 and professed vows in 1943, receiving the name Sister Irene.

She studied elementary education and history at the College of St. Teresa in Winona, Minn., and received bachelor’s degrees in education in 1955 and history in 1960. She received a master’s degree as a reading specialist in 1970 from Minnesota State University.

Her teaching ministry spanned 34 years in schools in Chicago, Ohio, and Maryland.

Sister Irene was a parish worker at St. James and St. Patrick Churches in Forest City, Iowa, from 1977-1979; at St. Mary Church in Charleston, S.C., from 1979-1983; at Hebron-St. Francis Center on Johns Island, S.C., from 1983-1988; and at St. Joseph Church in Grand Junction, Colo., from 1988-1989.

She also was involved in outreach work for the Diocese of Charleston from 1990-1991 and was a volunteer at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, Minn., from 1992 until her retirement in 1997.

Sister Irene is survived by her sister, Margaret Himmer of Stewartville, Minn., several nieces and nephews, and her Franciscan Congregation with whom she shared life for 70 years.

Memorials may be made to the Sisters of St. Francis, Office of Benefactor Relations at Assisi Heights, 1001 14th St. N.W., Suite 100, Rochester, MN 55901.