A funeral Mass for Sister Kathleen Stack, CSJ, was celebrated Tuesday, May 3, at Nazareth Living Center in St. Louis. Sister Kathleen died April 9 at Nazareth Living Center. She was 96 years old.
Sister Kathleen, baptized Frances, was born on Oct. 7, 1925, in Kansas City, Missouri, to parents John J. and Martha (Steinmetz) Stack. She entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in 1945 and was received into the novitiate in 1946. She earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Fontbonne College (now University) in 1958 and a master’s degree in social welfare from Sophia University in Tokyo in 1976. She also studied at Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, California, in 1984.
During Sister Kathleen’s 75 years as a Sister of St. Joseph, she served the dear neighbor in education, music and social services.
Sister Kathleen began teaching in 1948 at St. Mary Magdalen and Our Lady of the Presentation schools in St. Louis. In the 1950s, she taught and played music for parishes and their grade schools: St. Peter in Oconto, Wisconsin; Sacred Heart in Shawano, Wisconsin; St. Patrick in Rolla, Missouri; and St. Theresa in Honolulu, Hawaii.
For the next 22 years, Sister Kathleen primarily served in Japan, where the Sisters of St. Joseph formerly had a vice-province. After a year of study at the Carondelet House of Study in Kyoto, she was a music teacher and school office manager at St. Joseph’s in Tsu-Shi, Mie-Ken, Japan, from 1958-66. Sister Kathleen also served in the slums of Tokyo with a protestant minister and led a group serving the poor called “The Friendship Volunteers” until she returned to the United States. During this time, “The Friendship Volunteers” helped the minister build a new center for the poor by sponsoring various fundraising events.
She returned stateside to study at Washington University in St. Louis for one year. Back in Japan, she served briefly as a pastoral assistant and church musician at Takano Parish in Kyoto from 1967-68 and then transitioned to social work ministry in the slums of Tokyo for the next eight years.
She spent time in Oklahoma as a project coordinator with Tulsa Catholic Social Services (1979-80). She returned to Japan for the last time, working in administration at Sophia University in the social work department from 1981-83.
In 1985, Sister Kathleen joined a few other Sisters of St. Joseph in rural Pine Apple, Alabama, where poverty is widespread. Over the span of her 12 years there, she served as director of an adult care program and as a community care enabler. Sister Kathleen studied art (painting) with a local, well-known artist, and after retiring in 2000, she enjoyed painting.
In 2007, Sister Kathleen moved to Nazareth Living Center in St. Louis, where she continued to carry out her ministry of prayer and presence.