Jane McKinley

Birth: February 9, 1913
Profession: August 5, 1942
Death: February 12, 2007

Sister Jane McKinley, a devoted and caring administrator for her religious order, the Society of the Sacred Heart, died Monday (Feb. 12, 2007) amid preparations for a Mass to celebrate the 70th anniversary of her religious profession. Her death came just three days after her 94th birthday.

Sister McKinley died at Teresian House, a skilled nursing facility in Albany, New York. She is described as a “gentle spirit,” a person who cared deeply about others and exercised love and concern in a variety of roles throughout her life, but particularly as an administrator for her sisters in religious life.

A native of Chicago, Sister McKinley attended Barat College in Lake Forest, Ill., a school operated by the religious order she would later join. After two years, she entered the Society and professed her first vows in 1937. She completed requirements for her bachelor’s degree two years later, in 1939, at Duchesne College in Omaha, Neb. She earned a master’s degree in history at Loyola University, Chicago, in 1945, three years after professing her final vows.

As a Religious of the Sacred Heart, Sister McKinley began her educational ministry in Chicago, at Sheridan Road (now Sacred Heart Schools at Sheridan Road), a school of her religious order. With the exception of a six-month period in Albany to prepare for her final vows, she remained at that school for 22 years, from 1937 to 1959, teaching English, Latin and French and serving as surveillant for the lower and upper schools, a position akin to dean of students.

In 1959, Sister McKinley was appointed assistant superior, or administrator, for her religious community in Chicago, a position she held for six years, until being named superior in 1965. After three years, she moved to Clifton Academy in Cincinnati, where she served as superior for one year. In 1969, she became secretary to the superior at Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart in Bethesda, Md.

She returned to Lake Forest, Ill., in 1972, where she oversaw a tutorial program in English and writing at Barat College for one year, before being appointed coordinator of the Chicago-Lake Forest Alumnae Association. She served in that role for a total of eight years, from 1973 to 1979 and again from 1982 to 1984.

She moved to Washington D.C. in 1979, where for three years she oversaw a community of semi-retired Religious of the Sacred Heart and helped them to find volunteer work in government and social service institutions.

In 1984, Sister McKinley began what she called a “ministry of care,” serving first at Lake Forest Hospital and St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Lake Forest, and then as a volunteer at Barat College and in the Lake Forest area. She continued her volunteer work until moving to Kenwood Convent of the Sacred Heart in Albany, a retirement center for Religious of the Sacred Heart. She moved to Teresian House in early November, 2006.

A vigil service will be celebrated for Sister McKinley in the Kenwood chapel on Thursday, February 15 at 4:30 p.m. A funeral Mass will be celebrated in the chapel on Friday, February 16 at 9:00 a.m., followed by burial in the Kenwood cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Society of the Sacred Heart, 4100 Forest Park Avenue, Suite A, St. Louis, MO, 63108.