Eulogy for Sister Kathleen Flood, Oct. 27, 1925-Sept. 14, 2016

September 16, 2016 by

Sister Kathleen Flood

Sister Kathleen Flood

VIGIL: Sept. 16, 2016, at the Nazareth Motherhouse, Concordia
EULOGIST: Sister Missy Ljungdahl

Good morning. I want to thank you all for coming. I want to offer Kathleen’s family, her dear friends, the Mount Joseph community and staff, and all of you here today my sympathy and prayers. In the name of the Flood family, they wanted to say thank you to all who were so attentive and caring for Kathleen during these last years.

Years ago when Kathleen asked me to give her eulogy, she had one strong request. She said, “Make it short! Please tell people that if I have hurt them I am sorry. Let everyone know I will stay attentive in a new way and carry them in my prayer. When you finish this, you can sit down and be quiet.”

No, Kathleen, I get the last word.. no, words!

In reflecting on Kathleen’s life, I am mindful of a quote from Gerald M. Fagin, SJ, that speaks of generosity.

Growing in the virtue of generosity is a disposition of the heart to give spontaneously of oneself, to reach out to others in love and concern, and to seek the good in others. A generous heart does not measure its response and it goes beyond what is expected or required or owed. A generous heart asks for nothing in return.

Generosity prompts us to act selflessly and to share our resources of time, talent, and treasure. We call someone generous when we are surprised, humbled, and touched by their actions, and when there is no rational expOlanation for their gracious gestures of love and sharing. Generosity moves us to the service of others. The heart of a disciple is shaped by generosity.

This sums up what Kathleen was about throughout her life. Even these last years at Mount Joseph, she was so aware of others and gave them all she could.

Who was Sister Kathleen Flood?

Mary Elizabeth Flood was born Oct. 27, 1925, in El Paso, Texas, to Michael Joseph and Kathryn Agnes Keavy Flood. She had five older brothers, John, Bob, Joe, Bill and Paul; and two younger brothers, Michael “Mickey” and Francis. Kathleen had one sister, lsabell, who was also her best friend. Kathleen is survived by Francis, Isabell many nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and -nephews who she really admires. Kathleen loved her family and through the years enjoyed hearing about how her nieces, nephews and their children were investing their God-given gifts in life.

As a small child, Mary Elizabeth loved to be with her brothers. They would run all over with her in her baby buggy and that was a blast. She talked about how she and Paul would sit on the curb outside St. Joseph School and wonder what people could do in there all day. When the day came to start school, she was so excited. Kathleen tells how she talked about everything and loved making friends in class and was often in trouble for talking. When Sister asked if she wanted to talk about this, she responded, “Yes!” School was a place to learn everything and what better way to do it than by talking?

When Mary Elizabeth was in junior high, a priest came to ask Mrs. Flood if Kathleen could attend a retreat at St. Mary’s School in Silver City, N.M. Forty girls from El Paso went and they had a great time. This experience held the invitation that would set the course for her life. Upon her return to El Paso, she asked her parents if she could attend St. Mary’s in the fall. Mary promised to help pay her tuition and be good if she could go. They gave permission and she started saving.

While at St. Mary’s, Mary worked with Sisters Rose Estelle, Aquinas, and Clarice. The dedication of the Sisters at St. Mary’s was often spoken about when she talked of what influenced her decision to enter the order. She would do everything she could to help them and grew very close to them in her years there. She loved her classmates and the great times they had together playing in the band, putting on pageants, attending and winning vocal competitions, getting a driver’s license, dancing and yes, studying. While there, Kathleen won a scholarship to Western New Mexico University, which she turned down because she wanted to enter the community.

After graduating from St. Mary’s in 1944 Kathleen boarded the train for Kansas to enter the postulancy. The women who entered with were Ida Marie Gravel, James Marie McManus and Teresa Rigel. On March 19, 1945, her parents and her brother Francis came to watch her take the habit. Kathleen made vows in 1946.

Most of Kathleen’s years in ministry were spent in the health care field. She was an excellent surgical nurse and administrator working in Concordia, Manhattan, Seneca, Salina, Stafford Hall, Medaille Center and El Paso. When she spoke of her years in ministry, she would speak of the dedication of the older sisters she worked with and learned from. She laughed at some of the challenging assignments and trusted God’s presence when times were tough. Once she was told she would teach obstetrics and was sure this couldn’t be right, so she went to ask the superior about this assignment and was told, “Obedience would suffice.”

Later when she met a former student she laughed and said, “The only thing they learned and remembered was the prayer before class.”

When people would speak of the attention and care given by Kathleen, they would talk about how she cared for their whole person and really appreciated this about her. Kathleen’s last years in health care were spent in massage therapy. She wanted to give of herself and loved coming to Manna House during the Sarah Sabbatical Programs.

In 1982 Kathleen and Sister Francis Margaret Otter were asked to accompany Esther Pineda to El Paso to be part of the formation community. Women who entered the community at this time always spoke of Kathleen and Francis Margaret as being attentive and generous — and lots of fun. Kathleen spoke of how important the Sisters who had mentored her had been and she wanted to carry on the legacy.

Kathleen knew that in 2009 it was time to come home to Nazareth and was grateful for the opportunity to come. She wrote in her mission statement that year, “I will live out my year at Nazareth utterly given to God, utterly unselfish, much more conscious of each of my Sisters. Let me be gracious in service and live each day in gratitude for all I have received.” Truly, this is how she lived.

During these last years, Kathleen has had several health challenges and has embraced her diminishment and weakness knowing that God’s presence would suffice. Recently, as she has become so much more dependent on others, she has come to know a greater dependence on God. Letting Go and Letting God… a lived reality.

Finally, on Sept. 14, 2016, we said goodbye to this caring, generous woman, knowing she is in the embrace of God.

Vaya con Dios, dear friend, and thank you!

• • • • • • •

Memorials for Sister Kathleen Flood may be given to the Sisters of St. Joseph Health Care/Retirement Fund or the Apostolic Works of the Sisters; P.O Box 279, Concordia KS 66901. To make an online donation in Sister Kathleen’s memory, click on the button below:



3 Responses to “Eulogy for Sister Kathleen Flood, Oct. 27, 1925-Sept. 14, 2016”

  1. Lois Dougherty on September 18th, 2016 1:39 pm

    What a beautiful eulogy. I want to thank you sister Missy for giving me a telephone call about Sister Kathleen, would have been so much harder if I had just picked up your paper and read about it I , don’t know that I could have handled that. God bless all the sisters and everything they have done for us.

  2. Jodi Creten on September 18th, 2016 7:03 am

    Beautiful reflections of and for your good friend and our dear sister in community, Missy. Thank you for your attentiveness to her through the years.

  3. mary fran simons on September 17th, 2016 11:15 am

    Thank you, Missy, for so lovingly and accurately sharing the life of our dear Kathleen.

Feel free to leave a comment...