Sister Ann Kathleen Brawley
“Sister Ann Kathleen said that her greatest joy had been her opportunity to assist those who came to the Archives seeking materials in order to tell the story of the Congregation.”
Preserving the Congregation’s history was extremely important to Sister Ann Kathleen Brawley. “As archivist, Sister Ann Kathleen renewed the presentation of Community History classes, enriching the newer members of the Congregation in their knowledge and appreciation of our past,” said Sister Mary Roger Madden in her commentary for Sister Ann Kathleen, who died March 12.
Born June 18, 1919, in Chicago, Mary Kathleen Brawley was the daughter of John and Noreen (Doherty) Brawley. She and her two brothers attended St. Mel Grade School, Chicago. Sister Ann Kathleen graduated from Providence High School, Chicago. She entered the Congregation July 22, 1937, and professed first and perpetual vows Jan. 23, 1940, and 1946, respectively. Sister Ann Kathleen earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and a master’s degree in European history from Indiana State University.
Sister Ann Kathleen began her teaching ministry in 1940 at St. Patrick, Fort Wayne, Ind. Her pedagogical ministries also included St. John, Robstown, Texas; Our Lady of Sorrows, Chicago; and Saint Mary-of-the-Woods Village Grade School.
“For the next 12 years from 1954 to 1966, Sister Ann Kathleen worked quietly and humbly as assistant to the general secretary of the Congregation. Those of us who belong to a certain generation remember how in the summer vacation time, as we advanced upon Tile Hall 800 strong, with our many and varied needs, she was ever ready to respond to us in her gracious and generous manner. Whatever the problem confronting us we knew Sister Ann Kathleen would solve it quietly and efficiently. She always made each one feel that she was known, loved and appreciated. Those were turbulent years for many of us, but Sister Ann Kathleen was a soothing presence,” said Sister Mary Roger.
For the next 10 years, Sister Ann Kathleen served as the general secretary. Through her position, “she assembled and organized the Congregation’s archival documents,” continued Sister Mary Roger. “She was guided in this work by Sister Eugenia Logan (RIP) who, in her later years, had been named archivist/historian of the Congregation. After the general election, Sister Eugenia suggested that the title of archivist be given to Sister Ann Kathleen. In telling this, Sister Ann Kathleen admitted that it did not make a great deal of difference since she and Sister Eugenia continued to work together. …”
Sister Ann Kathleen served as the archivist from 1976 to 1991, and after her retirement she continued as a consultant to the department. It was under the leadership of Sisters Ann Kathleen and Eugenia and a cadre of volunteers that 136 years of Congregation history were organized and archived.
“In the early 1980s, the administrative offices were moved to Owens Hall where one wing of the ground floor was given to the Archives. For the first time the Archives Department, as we know it today, began to take shape,” said Sister Mary Roger.
“During the past 10 years as her strength declined — although she would never admit this fact — Sister Ann Kathleen served as a consultant to the Archives and to anyone else who had a question to ask relating to the history of the Congregation. She lived to take part in the great celebration of the canonization of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin, so meaningful to her in light of the many hours she had spent assisting with the preparation of the Cause,” said Sister Mary Roger.
The Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated March 17, with the Rev. Daniel Hopcus presiding. She is survived by one brother, Robert, of Arlington Heights, Ill.
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