Sister Eileen Kean (Thomas Dorothy), a beloved Sister of Saint Joseph for seventy years, entered eternal life on July 6, 2019 at Saint Joseph Villa, Flourtown, Pennsylvania. The Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at the Villa on July 9. Eileen was the eldest of six children born to Thomas and Helen Kean. In a reflection Eileen wrote some time ago, she described her family as close-knit and faith-filled with parents who were “filled with God’s Grace.” She described her siblings as a blessing, and they noted that Eileen was called the “Queen of the Family.”
During her high school years at Notre Dame, Moylan, Eileen was involved with academics, orchestra and basketball. She met the Sisters of Saint Joseph while she was coaching a volleyball team! Talking with Sister Melania and her parents, Eileen discerned her call to enter the Sisters of Saint Joseph in 1949 and she was very pleased when her two sisters Rosemarie and Kathleen entered a few years later.
Eileen’s ministry brought her to schools and families in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the dioceses of Allentown, Harrisburg and Trenton. She herself wrote that her life as a Sister of Saint Joseph was “very blessed with happiness, and grace-filled years. My ministry has been exciting, rewarding, and above all, blessed by God.”
Eileen was known and recognized as an excellent teacher, principal and mentor. Her colleagues described her as a happy, dedicated person who reached out to others and made them feel special. One sister spoke of Eileen as an example of ”active, inclusive love” to which Sisters of Saint Joseph are called.
A valued member of the local communities where she lived, Eileen demonstrated a good sense of humor, support for the other sisters, a quick wit, and a sparkle in her eye. She was appreciative, kind and very dedicated. In addition to receiving commendations from pastors, Eileen was recognized by receiving the following awards:
1999—Frederick Noel Distinguished Educator Award
2001—Distinguished Principal Award
2007—Pontifical Award—Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice for excellent service to the Church
and exemplary generosity in the ministry of education
We are grateful for Eileen and the gift she has been to her family, community and the People of God. We are grateful to the Kean family. We pray that Eileen will intercede for us that we may be open to all the blessings God offers us. We rejoice in the life Eileen shared with us and the life she continues to share with our God and all the blessed in heaven.