Sister Katherine Kase, CSC
(Sister M. Beatricia)
February 8, 1942–September 3, 2021
We share news of the death of Sister Katherine Kase, CSC, who died at 6 p.m. on September 3, 2021, at Ernestine M. Raclin Hospice House, Mishawaka, Indiana. Sister Katherine entered the Congregation from Las Vegas, Nevada, on September 3, 1961. Her initial profession of vows took place on August 15, 1964.
Please join us in prayer for Sister as we renew our faith in the resurrected Jesus and strengthen our hope that all the departed will be raised to eternal life.
Katherine Ericka Kase was born in Chicago, Illinois, on February 8, 1942, to Sophie Janeczko Kase and Helmuth John Kase. Her father had emigrated from Bremerhaven, Germany, and her mother from Poland. Katherine and her sister Beatrice (Gill) were the only children in the Kase family. Helmuth was a chef at an exclusive Chicago hotel when a similar facility in Las Vegas, Nevada, lured him to that desert city. In Las Vegas, Katherine attended St. Joseph’s School and Bishop Gorman High School, where she was taught by Sisters of the Holy Cross. The year after her high school graduation in 1960, she entered the Congregation and was given the name Sister M. Beatricia, perhaps in honor of her only sister, who now survives her.
Sister Katherine attended Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana, graduating in 1966 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. Years later, she went on to Mundelein College in Chicago, earning a master’s degree in 1980 in religious studies.
Sister’s first ministries were at schools and colleges in Moraga, Mountain View and San Francisco, California, and Boise, Idaho. At various times from 1966 to 1976, she served as teacher, principal or campus ministry coordinator. At St. Francis High School in Mountain View, Sister Katherine initiated the Office of Campus Ministry at a time when few such programs existed in the country. She also planned class retreats throughout the school year, calling on her innate sense of what appealed to high school students.
Sister Katherine also had a strong sense of social justice. She was among the first sisters who understood the need to examine the Congregation’s ministries through that lens. During her teaching years, she strived to imbue youth with a sense of social justice in the context of Catholic secondary education.
In 1984, Sister Katherine headed east to Washington, D.C., to become principal at Saint Cecilia’s Academy, sponsored by the Sisters of the Holy Cross. Saint Cecilia’s was to be merged with other Catholic girls’ high schools in the region and become a school of the archdiocese. Sister Katherine led the transition during the merger, serving as principal of the new entity, Holy Spirit High School, until it closed in 1989.
August of 1991 found Sister Katherine embarking on a ministry that lasted until July 2008 as head of school, and later president/CEO, at The Academy of the Holy Cross, Kensington, Maryland, founded by the Sisters of the Holy Cross. Under her capable leadership, the school met financial challenges, received the U.S. Department of Education’s Blue Ribbon of Excellence Award (1998), and conducted a successful capital campaign to erect a new building housing the arts and sciences departments, a theater and additional classrooms. Sister Katherine also oversaw the completion of a beautiful new entrance. She left the academy in 2008.
From 2010 until 2014, Sister was the vocation coordinator for the Area of North America. In 2015, she was appointed the coordinator of Saint Angela Hall in Kensington, Maryland, a community of retired Holy Cross sisters. She was known as understanding and compassionate, tireless and full of ideas. Her organizational and leadership skills were called on once again when she became involved in the challenging process of closing the facility in 2018.
With a gift for mentoring young adults, Sister moved in 2018 to Silver Spring, Maryland. In Silver Spring, she lived in community with and monitored Congregation novices from other countries who were sent to the area for a mission experience of several months. Fully embracing this role, Sister Katherine welcomed and engaged—with creativity, responsibility and joy—the second-year novices.
Around that time, Sister Katherine volunteered with Rosaria Communities, Inc., associated with the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. Rosaria fosters the construction or renovation of housing to provide independent living for people with physical or intellectual disabilities. With support from the Congregation’s Ministry With the Poor Fund, she purchased a large Amish-crafted table, envisioning it as a gathering place for meals, conversation, projects, staff meetings and social events. She wanted the table to be a beautiful, tactile and loving expression of a commitment to a forever home for the residents.
Sister Katherine is now in her forever home, seeing what no eye has seen, hearing what no ear has heard, imagining what no heart has imagined (1 Corinthians 2:9), glorying in the presence of God, whom she loves.
We invite you to donate to the Ministry With the Poor Fund in Sister’s name.
—Written by Sister Grace Shonk CSC