Ursula Kirk

Birth: July 28, 1931
Profession: Feb. 4, 1962
Death: Feb. 28, 2009

Ursula Kirk, RSCJ, died February 28, 2009 at Teresian House, Albany, New York, after a long illness. She was an outstanding educator known for her devotion to students and faculty. Her deep faith enriched all who knew her.

Sister Kirk held leadership positions in Sacred Heart schools, including headmistress at Convent of the Sacred Heart, Greenwich, CN, from 1962 to 1967, and director of the Guidance Program at 91st Street in New York City from 1969 to 1976. Her early years of ministry included teaching and responsibility for both boarders and day students at Kenwood and Noroton.

Dr. Kirk was also associate professor and head of the Neurosciences and Education Program at Teacher's College, Columbia University. She earned an Ed.D. in Special Education at Columbia and was a post doctoral fellow in Pediatric Neuropsychology at Tufts New England Medical Center Hospital. With two colleagues, she developed a neurological assessment tool called the NEPSY, which was published by The Psychological Corporation and enjoys continual use in the US and abroad.

She entered the Society of the Sacred Heart at Kenwood in Albany, NY, in September 1953 and made her final vows in Rome in February 1962.

She graduated from Newton Country Day School of the Sacred Heart in 1948 and earned a degree in Psychology from Manhattanville College in 1952 – the first of many degrees that enabled her to serve in the field of neuropsychology through extensive research, publications, worldwide lectures, advisement, and teaching.

Throughout her life, Urs (as she was known to her friends) was deeply interested in enabling others “to do and be what they are gifted for.” She was nourished by her love and interest in music and the arts and found solitude and strength in mountains and the ocean – but it was people who energized her and for whom she dedicated her research.

She believed in the dignity of every human being and had a remarkable ability to listen to what others had to say. This openness of mind and heart served her well when she visited India and Russia and other places whose cultures differed from her own.

Sister Kirk’s clear thinking and sense of humor always added to the enjoyment of social situations and, for all her brilliance and remarkable achievements, she humbly served God to Whom she had given her life.

Among her survivors are her sister Claire, of Rockport, MA, and her sister-in-law Penny Kirk of Needham, MA, and five nephews and their families. Sister Kirk was born July 28, 1931, in Cambridge, MA, and grew up in Weston. Her parents, both deceased, were Francis P. Kirk and Helen Ursula Mea.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in the Teresian House Chapel on Thursday, March 5, 2009 at 1:00 p.m. with interment in the Kenwood Convent cemetery immediately following. Memorial contributions may be made to the Society of the Sacred Heart, 4129 Forest Park Avenue, St. Louis, MO  63108


Submitted by Dr. Majid Azzedine on

As a former postdoctoral student learned of Professor Kirk's passing a few years later when I contacted the department she had directed at Columbia University. Professor Kirk will be remembered for her dedication to education and learners of all ages.