Catherine Gilmore, CSJ

We remember her in the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn.

October 27, 1932 – December 9, 2018

The maxim quoted on the front of the program reminds us that “Your zeal will always be in proportion to the love of God you have in your heart.  If it springs from a great love, then it will be great.”  Sister Kay Gilmore certainly embodied great love, great zeal, and great joy.

Catherine Marie Gilmore, Sister Margaret Edward, Kay, was one of four children born to Patrick and Katherine Gilmore, who were originally from Galway, Ireland.  Kay knew and loved the Sisters of St. Joseph from her days as a student at St. Ambrose, Dorchester and at Mount Saint Joseph Academy.  In the company of classmates Kay entered the congregation in 1950 and embarked on a journey of sixty-eight years.  During those years she ministered as an elementary school teacher, reading specialist, principal and administrative assistant.  Wherever she ministered, Kay brought her joy in life, her laughter, and her compassion to share with those whom she served.

Kay’s sense of humor often provided needed levity when people began to take themselves too seriously.  This certainly accounted for the circles of friends that she collected through the years.  In her presence it was easy to forget one’s burdens and to enjoy a lighthearted view of life.  My final conversation with Kay occurred on Saturday, when she, with her constant companion, Sister Francis Marilyn, were preparing to enjoy a concert.  In her usual manner, Kay greeted me most graciously.  And so in turn, using the words of John O’Donoghue, I greet you and bless you, Kay. 

“May your leave-taking be gracious, enabling you to hold dignity through awkwardness and illness.  May you see the reflection of your life’s kindness and beauty in all the tears that fall for you. May your heart be speechless at the sight of the truth of all belief had hoped, your heart breathless in the light and lightness where each and everything is at last its true self.”

 I invite Sister Gail Donahue to share her reflections of her dear friend of many years.

Given by

Sister Judith Costello

December 13, 2018


My “hot Sponsor” loved life!   And she lived it to its peak!  Nothing kept her down!  As many of you know, Sister Kay Gilmore, Sister Margaret Edward was a woman who knew the phrase of Deuteronomy, “Choose life”, and that was how she lived. 

 My first encounter with my “hot Sponsor” occurred when she had just arrived from the Novitiate at Immaculate Conception School in North Cambridge. My sister, Jeannie, was her student, and had been absent from school, so I was sent to get her homework. The big smile, rosy cheeks and happy spirit from Sister Margaret Edward instantly struck me… and I was, and have been smitten by Kay Gilmore to this very day.  Kay’s deeds empowered not only me, but so many, toward happy times, joy, and enrichment in our lives.  She took advantage of opportunities of life.  Her love for exploring, taking on new adventures, and reaching out to people, these were hallmarks of her character.  Her personality radiated.  In some instances, her mentoring caused positive changes in people. Family members, sisters, priests, lay people – we all delighted in her presence.  In recent years, many commented on Kay’s bravery particularly after her crippling operations.  She set an example for us of absolute acceptance of God’s will in her life. Each day we marveled that her infirmities did not inhibit her from participating in everyday, life situations.

 Sister Kay’s sudden death is a shock to us all!  Something we never anticipated to occur at this time. I could imagine on that quiet morning last Sunday, Jesus listening to Kay expressing her gratitude to God, thanking Him for calling her to her eternal reward in such a peaceful manner.  Perhaps this was God’s reward to her for all the suffering, illness, and surgery she had endured so valiantly.  Jesus’s call to Kay to her new life has to be perceived as a welcome reward.  

 Now we can rejoice for Sister Catherine, Kay, Sister Margaret Edward.  Her life has been transformed as she joins her parents, brothers, brother-in law, friends, and those she loved on earth.

 My vocation as a Sister of St. Joseph has been enriched in many ways.  One precious gift for me has been to have had Sister Kay Gilmore as my “hot Sponsor”.  Her religious life inspired me to become a Sister of St. Joseph.  Her spirit of joy, her prayer life, and continuous care has encouraged me in my vocation.  For this I really loved my “hot Sponsor” will be ever grateful for her presence in my life.

 In our Constitution we read “We strive in every aspect of our lives to be for others a visible sign of God’s presence and active love”.   Truly Sister Kay Gilmore, Sister Margaret Edward, Kay, was that sign for us. For her presence in our lives we were blessed.   May she now be welcomed into her eternal peace.

 Given by

Sister Gail Donahue, CSJ

December 13, 2018