“A true contemplative monastic” are the words most often used to describe our Sister Catherine (Philothea) Kinen. Sister Catherine passed away Thursday, December 1, 2016 in the same quiet way that she lived her life. She is preceded in death by her parents Philip Kinen and Mary (Sramek) Kinen, her two brothers Gerard (Gary) Kinen and Norbert Kinen and her sister Sylvia Kinen Fisher.
Born in St. Francis, Kansas on September 30, 1929 and baptized Phyllis Catherine Kinen on October 6, 1929, she grew up on a farm in northwest Kansas. Sister Catherine attended the local public elementary school and Mt. St. Scholastica Academy (high school) in Atchison, Kansas. In June 1948, after graduation, she entered the Benedictine Monastery of Mt. St. Scholastica and made her final monastic profession on January 1, 1953.
For twenty-six years, Sister Catherine taught kindergarten and first grade in Missouri, Kansas and Colorado. She is a Charter member of Benet Hill Monastery. In 1976, Sister Catherine began internal ministry to the sisters by caring for the sick and working in food services at the monastery. Her ministry to her sisters in community reflected the gentle love, compassion and patience of Sister Catherine’s heart. She shared her many gifts inconspicuously. She had a gift for music, a beautiful singing voice, and enjoyed playing the piano.
Sister Catherine personifies the Lord’s admonition to, “Listen, be silent so that God may teach wisdom.” She was a woman of few words and went about her work quietly and with great care. When she spoke, her words were filled with wisdom. She was an avid reader and her conversations conveyed attentive observation and deep reflection. Sister Catherine expressed joy in all things. During the last weeks of her life, she noticed the changing colors of the season, the uniqueness of a bird or a keen insight about the way she was feeling. Sister Catherine was admired by her sisters as a true contemplative monastic-the way she lived her life reflected her unwavering trust in God.