Sr Kathleen Mernagh
Died 18 June 2020
Sr Kathleen was born in Adamstown on 19th July 1932 to Joseph Mernagh and Mary McKay. She was the loving sister of Thomas, Winifred, Elizabeth and Brian. In 1953 at the age of twenty, she entered the Novitiate at Lochinvar and was given the name of Sr Mary Eudes. Following the reforms of the Second Vatican Council she reverted to her baptismal name and was then known as Sr Kathleen Mernagh.
After her Professions as a Sister of St Joseph, Kathleen began her ministry as an Infant and Primary School teacher in parishes from Port Macquarie and Wauchope, down the coast to many Newcastle suburbs, out to Denman and Merriwa and many places in between. When she left the classroom, Kathleen served as the Parish Pastoral Associate in Branxton and Greta.
On her retirement she became a member of the St Vincent de Paul Society. With her strong sense of social justice she took the opportunity to support refugees, assisting them to read and write in a new language. She was among the thousands of people who did the Reconciliation Walk over the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 2000. Ever a great supporter of parish life, even in her latter years in the Mayfield parish, she took Communion to the sick and house-bond. In the spirit of her Josephite founders, she responded to the needs as she saw them.
Kathleen’s life-long attitude was one of getting on with the task, pressing on regardless of the difficulties. She was an enthusiastic teacher with a special care for the needy. She was capable, generous, hospitable and eager to share new ventures, courses and study opportunities. She also shared ministry with the Sisters in Tasmania for some months.
In her last days, she recognised her health had failed and accepted this in peace. Kathleen died peacefully in Lingard Hospital at Merewether on 18th June in her 88th year.
Bishop Brian Mascord, a life-long friend of the Mernagh family, presided at the Mass for Christian Burial and was joined by a number of priests from parishes where Sr Kathleen had ministered. The number of those allowed to participate in the Mass was limited because of the Coronavirus restrictions on funeral services. Sr Jan Tranter delivered Words of Remembrance. So too, did her nephew, Anthony and brother, Brian.
At the conclusion of the Mass, the cortege moved to the Lochinvar cemetery where Sr Kathleen Mernagh was buried in the Sisters’ section, the sacred place hallowed by the memory of the Sisters who had gone before her. May Kathleen sleep in peace until God awakens her to glory.
Based on Words of Remembrance by Sr Jan Tranter rsj