A memorial Mass for Loretto Sister Mary Katherine (formerly Sister Mary Odile) Hammett was celebrated Oct. 28 in the Church of the Seven Dolors at Loretto Motherhouse in Nerinx, Kentucky. Sister Mary Katherine, a longtime music teacher and religious education instructor who was active in parish work for more than 40 years, died Oct. 17 at Loretto Motherhouse Infirmary. She was 95 and in the 77th year of her religious commitment.
Born in Colorado, Sister Mary Katherine had known in the second grade that she wanted to become a nun, having been inspired by her teachers. From the time she was young, she had played the piano and organ at parish Masses.
She entered the Sisters of Loretto at the Foot of the Cross in 1943 and was received into the Loretto congregation in 1944. Sister Mary Katherine made her first vows in 1946 and final vows in 1949. She earned a bachelor’s degree in applied music, with a minor in education, in 1962 from St. Mary’s College in Los Angeles. She earned a master’s degree in religious studies in 1978 from Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles.
In the St. Louis Archdiocese, Sister Mary Katherine taught from 1947-48 at St. Catherine School in St. Louis. In 1971, she served as director of Lafayette Pre-School at Loretto Academy in St. Louis. Sister Mary Katherine engaged in many service activities while residing from 1997 to 2004 at Loretto Center in St. Louis and from 2004-11 at The Sarah Community in Bridgeton.
As a young Loretto, Sister Mary Katherine taught primary grades and piano in Colorado, California and Texas. She then served for nearly two decades at various California parishes as a religious education coordinator and director. She also served as chapel sacristan in El Paso, Texas. In 2012, Sister Mary Katherine moved to Loretto Motherhouse Infirmary.
Survivors include her brother, John Hammett of Kalispell, Montana. She donated her body to the University of Louisville in Kentucky.