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Celebrating the Life of Kit Collins, rscj

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Kit Collins, rscjCelebrating the Life of Kit Collins, rscj


On Thursday March 18, 2010, Sister Kit Collins passed away at her home in Washington, DC. She lived her life as an advocate for the poor, a champion of justice, and a true example of the expansive and unconditional love of Christ. Through her ministry in education and at the Center for Educational Design and Communication, she touched innumerable lives, making the world a better place for all those who crossed her path. This Tuesday, March 23, 2010, we will gather together to celebrate her life and her mission with the hope of a glorious resurrection in Christ.

A viewing will be held at the CEDC chapel from 9am until 11am. The liturgy will begin at 11am, with interment to follow at St. Mary's Cemetery (2121 Lincoln Road NE, Washington, DC 20002). A reception and a time for the sharing of memories will be held at CEDC.

You can read more about Kit at the RSCJ US Province website.

We invite you to share stories or reflections of any length in the comments below, or by emailing them to celebratingkit@cedc.org (if emailing, please indicate whether we may read or repost your comments publicly).


From Chris Megargee (via Facebook)

This is sad news indeed. And to respond via a [comment] is hardly befitting all that I feel in hearing it--yet not to respond at all wouldn't make sense either. Kit had a profound influence on my life, and while heaven is even brighter for her now entering it, it's hard not to feel that our world is a bit dimmer, as we have lost a champion.

KIT COLLINS: Her great love of the Society

I will always remember receiving, on the first anniversay of my final profession, a note from Kit expressing her congratulations and her hope that the spirit of my probation in the Philippines remained and would always be a source of joy and guidance.  It's one thing to write a note to an RSCJ as she makes her final profession.  It's above and beyond to write a personal note for the first anniversary.  But Kit's love for the Society and for RSCJs was profound and wide. Marilyn McMorrow

Kit, we miss you.

Kit was a role model for me both as a Senior at Manhattanville and then as a novice at Kenwood. She kept her sense of humor through all the trials and tribulations of the noviceship years and still demonstrated a love of prayer and spirituality. I have also admired her gift of self to the Society adn to the poor during her years of ministry. Kit will be missed by many people. My most recent memory of Kit is her sharing at Kenwood the night before the closing celebration when she shared with us several of her favorite memories of noviceship days and sent us into paroxysms of laughter! So Kit! Rest in peace, my sister, you have earned it in spades.

Kit, a wise, humble, humorous, and welcoming person

I left the States in 1959 and only returned to study in 1980 and then I have lived only in Miami so I did have much contact with Kit. I was amazed to find this wonderful, wise person would seek me out at a Province assembly to just make sure she greeted me with a welcoming hug. She was the same at the Center when I brought relatives for a family reunion. She seemed to enjoy people and we certainly enjoyed her!

What a great person

Know that I am with you in loving support and prayer at this difficult tim. Kit was a terrific person and visionary far ahead of her time. I loved her  so much and always appreciated it when she was at the same meetings as I so that we could continue our relationship, celebrating life and love. I will miss her as I am sure all of you will to. Much love prayer, Ginny 

I first met Kit when

I first met Kit when she was an Aspirant at Eden Hall and I a new Professed.  Some of my fondest memories of Kit are connected with her wonderful sense of humor.   That was a gift that kept on giving throughout her life and some of her humorous moments are legend in the Society.  I do hope some of those moments are captured! A more recent connect with Kit was at Duchesne House in New Orleans.  She and her good friend Betsy Hartson came down after Katrina with a group of friends from DC to help clear out a former rectory that the RSCJ would open as a volunteer house for high school and college students coming to help with the rebuild.   During her visit Kit wanted to help make the new ministry known by using the creative gifts of the staff at CEDC. The following year the group returned to help gut a house next to the rectory.  Kit came with her paintbrush because she was asked to help paint Duchesne House, a portion of which she did paint!  I share all of this because ‘we pass a good time’ but I can’t find the wonderful picture taken on the front porch amid lots of fun and laughter.  We have all lost a good friend.   Marie-Louise Wolfington, RSCJ  

loss of Kit

We understand  why Kit's heart  gave  out  : she  had the kindest and most  tender care of our Sisters in the Washington Area  at a time of illness. She  will be  dearly  missed.

Remembering Kit

I was a young RSCJ when I first met Kit.  I was at Woodlands, and we were having some kind of evaluation.  Kit was there and asked me how quickly I could finish my summer Masters in Religious Studies program because she thought I should enter the Society administration program at Notre Dame.  She had, as she said, been "observing from afar."  "Come and see what it's all about."Two years later I finished the MRE and got on the Greyhouse to Notre Dame.  Three wonderful summers of inspiring talks, Society Seminar, serious studying, great community, nightly gatherings in Kit's room sharing the day and lots of laughter.  She believed in me and helped me believe that with proper training and experience, I could be a good head of school.  35 years later as I reflect on all those years, I am deeply grateful to Kit for her faith in me and encouragement all along the way.  The people I have been privileged to know, the experiences I have had, the challenges, the joys and sorrows all have come into my life because Kit said, "Come and see."  She even taught me (and countless others!!) to hypnotize lobsters!

Kit Collins

To me, Kit Collins was and will always be bigger than life. I admired her from afar as educator, lover of the Society and a "mover and shaker." As a young headmistress at Stuart in Princeton, I did not know many rscj in the then Washington province in which Stuart resided.  It was before the network of schools. Kit organized the heads of Newton, Princeton, Washington and Miami. She held meetings regularly for several days at a time. Her influence upon us was huge. We shared our hopes, concerns and questions. The bond of friendship sealed among us was real. She impowered us to become heads of schools who strove to live the mission of Sophie. Through the years, Kit and I became fine friends, spending many a New Year's eve time together with cherished rscj friends.  She always exercised her responsibility to speak out. She loved an education based on critical thinking and teaching to the gospel values of justice and peace. She gave voice to those without voice. And her tireless efforts to find ways to assure our communication as a congregation through the CEDC endeared her to thousands of people. Kit, how we will miss your humor, the sparkle in your eyes and the love in your heart.   Joan Magnetti, rscj 

I was there when Kit agreed to begin what became the CEDC

When Nance O’Neil, the 1st Provincial of the U.S. Province of the Society of the Sacred Heart, came home from a meeting in St. Louis with other religious superiors who had members working in Nicaragua at the height of the problems in that country, she told us that they realized that among them they had more trustworthy information about what was happening there than was reported in the media or by our government. They had talked about how they might organize for firsthand information gathered from trustworthy sources and somehow have another avenue of communication. And when Nance told the Provincial Team about this, we simultaneously spoke up stating that the only person that we knew who could pull this off was Kit.  Nance talked with Kit about it and she was not exited about starting anything from scratch. She truly struggled with even thinking about it, but promised Nance she would discern it as best as she could. In the process she had many conversations with each one she thought could help her, and those she talked to can attest to her struggle. When the day came to talk to the Provincial Team we all prayed together in the chapel and none of us knew her answer; those of us on the Team prayed to accept a “no” if that was the fruit of her discernment. When we finally went to the conference room she asked to speak first. She told us that her prayer led her to say that she will do her best to put a communication system together. She told us that it was the gospel passage about the rich young man that had moved her deeply. She said “ I knew that I did not want to go away sad”. And for a quarter of a century she has tackled every issue, been at the service of social justice in all kinds of forums,  and built a communication system that was more than we ever expected. Just about a month ago Kit called me because the gospel passage that Sunday at Mass had been the one about the rich young man. She said “I had to call you because I knew you would remember about that passage. And I told her that I, too, had heard that passage at Church and my thoughts had gone directly to her because I could never forget that moment.   Kit and I had many long conversations through all the years that we knew one another and I will miss her more than I can express. She was truly a giant!   Rosemary Bearss RSCJ (via email)


To all in the DC area and those touched by the life, humor, and vision of Kit I pray my sympathy and loss. She was prayed for at my parish this AM. and so were you. As the gospel during the scrutiny liturgies said this morning, her life is changed not ended. With Martha we struggle with understanding where Jesus is in this loss of late. 

remembering Kit

Kit was a creative, visionary, and inspirational designer and leader.  The work she did establishing the Network of Schools has had impacts far beyond the Network and beyond the Society; it has been used as a model by business consultants, as well as others.  Her development (with Nance? Ronnie?) of "the refectory model" to explain how the Society used to be informally organized, was a classic.  Her death is a huge loss. 

celebrating kit collins` life

When Kit visited our province (Germany-Sweden at that time) in the late 70th three of us were driving together to Bonn. All of a sudden Kit said with her beautiful American accent: "Now I know what you say when you make the holy cross: ´ Im Namen des Vaters und des Sohnes und des Schlingel" ...(=  "In the name of the Father, of the Son and of the little rascal". Completely surprised of our laughter she replied: ´"But I know, sun is ´Schlingel`, isn`t that true?" Making the holy cross, this little situation has reminded me many, many times of Kit and her hearty laughing. She was and is a wonderful human being. Christel Peters, rscj

It was a time in our

It was a time in our history…1969-1970, I was 17, almost 18 years old. It was a time in our nation’s   history when the possibility that the younger   generation, my generation, would and could change the world, was so real we truly believed it. It was a time of antiwar demonstrations and student protests. The air was filled with the notion “Yes We Can”!                 I was a senior at Stone Ridge, President of the Student Council.  Kit was our Headmistress. I, and my fellow student council members, decided to radically change the way the Upper School was run. Fueled by optimism and idealism, we ‘threw out’ all the rules, eliminating Friday afternoon detention, demerits and whatever other regulation we considered in the way of students being able ‘to govern themselves’ .  Instead, we established a ‘Student Court’ where misbehaving students would be judged by their peers. ‘Punishment would fit the crime.’ We wrote a new ‘school constitution’ which encouraged students to be governed by their best instincts rather than by rules imposed from without. Needless to say, I was not very popular with those who ran the Upper School, as we walked the fine line between higher values and chaos! Yet there was Kit, more than supportive, she was our champion,  encouraging  us every step of the way, to engage in a this grand experiment. She ‘had my back’!                 Years later as I wrote in my journal  reflecting on those who had had the greatest influence on making me the person I had become, at the top of the list was ‘Kit Collins’. And years later when we would see each other we would laugh and reminisce about our ‘rebel days’…as though we had been  partners  in some special conspiracy…and got away with it!                 I will miss her dearly…and I suspect that wherever she is, she is hopefully making ‘trouble’ challenging the status quo for the sake of creating something better!   Mary (Pratt) Brandenburg Stone Ridge   1970

Sister Collins

Mary Pratt  Brandenburg, Sr. Collins came to Harvard with the very agenda you wrote about...change. she asked me to come to Stone Ridge, which I did in the Fall of 1972. together with Sr. Betsy Hartson, Sr. Ann Taylor and a few other RSCJs, we changed the curriculum starting with 5th grade up to senion...this by the year 1977. It was a joy to work with  Sister Collins. She is, was and will be a Love. Vernon Dolphin VDolphin709@2comcast.net

Kit, mentor and friend

I first met Kit in 1967. She stood out among the multitude of RSCJ who came to Kenwood for Mother Bodkin’s funeral. I saw a young Kit, a woman full of joy, wit, zest for life.

A few years after, as a young nun, I had a firsthand experience of the vision and wisdom deep beneath Kit’s exuberance. Kit guided us through the first steps of the Goals and Criteria and of the Sacred Heart Network. I was impressed by her far-seeing approach, an orientation towards the future that took into account the reality we were living in the province and in the country. All of us were involved in the process and the challenge. Kit saw the road ahead and invited us to discover it with her.

Not so long ago I worked with Kit and the CEDC team on the international website. Kit’s wisdom, gained through the Network, the International Education Commission, her international experiences and her interest in developing technology came together in a blueprint for the Society’s venture into the age of technological communication. We had many discussions and heated arguments. The wit and the laughter were always there. The website was Kit’s “baby”, but she respected the fact that I was the one to lead the baby in walking its first steps.

Kit, you have been to me a mentor and a friend.  You will always bring light and joy to my heart.


A woman of vision, wisdom and wit

With her vision of a network of Sacred Heart schools, Kit guided us in the 70's through the formulation of the Goals and Criteria laying the foundation of the Network we now know. One of my favorite memories of her comes from those days when she came to 91st Street to encourage the faculty in that task. Standing before us she guided us with her wisdom, and with her wit and accent, "Sacred Haaaat" (no"r") brought us laughter as we attempted to clarify and concretize the spirit of a Sacred Heart education. We owe her immense gratitude. She was a dear and loving friend to so many of us. Thank you, Kit. Marianne Ruggeri (via email)

Thanks Kit

When I think of Kit many things come to mind: the Goals and Criteria, the Network of schools,  the “Notre Dame” (eventually it came there)  Society program for developing educational leadership, the push forward for technological literacy for all members of the Province,  the CEDC and all it supported –meetings, materials, hand holding…, the voice overs of Society materials so those who couldn’t read could hear.  These are a few things, institutional things, often fought for with tenacity and wit.  When I worked briefly at the Center I saw other things – Kit’s love of her staff (with good reason), her networking beyond the institutions– bringing in a food service that employed and trained ex offenders and out of work persons  giving them hope and skills to underpin that hope, selling Fe’s buttons, putting up wonderful photos from around the globe of people struggling for life, welcoming ideas from all corners – we painted the dining room with my father’s grace: May those who hunger have bread, and may we who have bread always hunger for justice.  I also remember over the years, at Area Director’s meetings, Kit reiterating that she thought the group could be a great help to the Team if the ADs could share their lived experience of the Society.  This year, though Kit was no longer AD, we finally did that and I called to tell her  seed had begun to produce.  She was so grateful.  And then there was Kit’s visit to Chicago, long ago, when she seemed to indicate that the Lake was a mere pond.  The day she was taken out on the rocks when the wind was up and the waves were crashing she backtracked a bit, physically, and admitted it was wild…just not the ocean!

Kit, thanks for all of this, but mostly for your courage under pressure, where you stayed focus edon the goal and never stopped working for the true end.  You risked much may you now have the fullness in repsonse to your generosity and couarge.


Celebrating the life of Kit Collins

Kit hired me in April, 1971 to teach French in the Upper School at Stone Ridge, but I never got to work under her direction as that was her final year as headmistress there. In our interview, I remember how she fixed me with a kindly but probing look and said, "We do not simply need a French teacher but want someone who is truly committed to social justice." It was clear what Stone Ridge and Sacred heart education was about. Over the next 32 years of my teaching at Stone Ridge, I didn't see her much, but I always knew what she was doing, acting on her lifelong committment to education and social justice in the world. She was an extraordinary woman and a model for us all. 

our dear Kit

I never ceased to be amazed by her energy and involvement in anything related to the Society and to her work at CEDC. She was also a perfect example of someone who maintained enthusiasm and intelligent insight in all discussions. Her interventions at Provincial Assemblies were accurate and always tinged with a touch of humor. A bright and intelligent woman who did not take herself seriously. Her mind was quick and able to grasp the context of what it was that you were sharing with her. Mostly I loved her laugh. She did not take herself seriously and had a charm that made you so comfortable in conversations with her. She has set an example that we all should cherish.Wickie Sheehan, rscj (via email)

Shared life

I shared life with Kit and Betsy as a CUA student/CCVI from Houston Texas.  I will always be grateful for the hospitality, sharing of life, wonderful convesations and shared concerns that made those years so memorable.  Kit may you be at peace and rest easy in love of the universe.

Shared life...........

I had the pleasure of sharing life with Kit and Betsy in DC when I was a CUA student and then a Houston CCVI.  Kit's humour and hospitality are indeed legend.........I am grateful for the opportunity to have known her, to have shared life with her and to have had many long conversations with her.  Rest in peace Kit and enjoy the love of the universe..........

growing up with Kit as your next door neighbor

We met each other as infants, growing up with homes next to each other.  Kit and I were close pals, playing together everyday, whether it was riding our bikes, playing ball after supper or making desert for her family.  As you can imagine, Kit was very innovative, so, one day we decided to make a cake at her house.  It was from scratch, of course, no box mix.   She decided that we should add quite a bit more baking soda, and that we did.   Well, as the cake was done baking, we peeked into the oven and much to our surprise, the cake had risen so high that it reached up to the next rack and baked over it.  We were in deep trouble to say the least.  We scraped what was edible out of the oven and got in some real big trouble with her mom.   I have another 100 or so stories, but will leave just this one.  I am so sorry to hear of her passing although I did not see her but a few times after she entered the Order of the Sacred Heart.  I have read many of the comments and I know how loved she was to all.

May her good work continue.

I have had the pleasure of

I have had the pleasure of knowing Kit for the last 25 years or so.  I became acquainted with her through my friendship with Vicky Rajca.  We had many occasions to share meals together and I was always uplifted by Kit's superb sense of humor.  I will never forget her telling me about how she could hypnotize live lobsters and make them walk. I never had an occasion to actually see her do this but I am perfectly sure that she could!!  I so admired her for her kind and gentle spirit. She will be greatly missed.


Last evening we had our own sharing of Kit memories at an Albany area gathering and, of course, laughed until we cried at some of the stories told, particularly from Meg Canty's rich store of more than fifty years of friendship.  But I will best remember Kit for her tenderness--for her recent accompaniment of and sharing with us of Laryn's family's sorrowful, beautiful, faith-filled journey with their little Caritas, for emails about whatever that always included an affectionate and encouraging word, for her enormous love of the Society in which she gave all of herself.  Oh, how I will miss her. 


My wife Malia and I were remembering yesterday how, when I worked at CEDC and was preparing for our wedding, we stayed up very late a few nights at the office using CEDC's equipment to make a video slide show for showing at our rehearsal dinner and reception. Not only did Kit insist we use CEDC's tools and supplies, she bought us pizza and beer while we worked. A month later she opened up half of CEDC's rooms to our extended family, many of whom would not have been able to afford the trip without her generous provision of a warm and comfortable place to stay. Our family used the CEDC kitchen to prepare hors d'oeuvres and even bake our wedding cake. Kit has a special place in our hearts for her friendship, her care and her endless generosity. Chris and Malia Hayashida-Knight (via email)

Missing my Aunt Kit

I can't imagine this world without Kit. I can't imagine the Society without her. I can't imagine us without her. She was larger than life. When I arrived in Boston in 1975 during the heated race riots,  I was on my way to the noviceship. Kit picked me up at the airport. She took me out for a drink first and then to 860. She drove to the back of the house. I could not believe her and asked where was the front door. I explained I could not go into the back door. She said everyone goes in the back door and the front door is rarely used. What? She didn't get it at first then I had to school her on black folks. WE did not go into white people's back doors. She got it and proceeded to the front door. It was like getting into Fort Knox. We laughed so hard that night. That was the beginning of our real relationship. Over the years we got to know one another better and even worked on committees, etc. together. Did we have some fun. She could throw a party better than anyone. We could also argue and the next minute go out to dinner. She was true and honest and had the biggest heart. Kit was real, always! I loved that she questioned everything and everybody. She didn't take things for granted. Kit was Kit, always. No smoke and mirrors. What you saw was what you got. I just loved her and knew she loved me. In 1985 Kit was in Rome for what I can't remember but I was there for final vows. I was so happy she was there. My family could not afford to come so I felt blessed to have her there to represent the U.S. Province and my family. At a meeting of the Probation group, we were asked how many seats we needed in the family section for the vow ceremony. So I asked for two seats. One for Kit and one for Georgie Blaeser who was working at the Mother Condos then. Well, the folks on the Probation Team had a problem with that. They were RSCJ's and could not sit in the "family section". They did not know anything about black folks. I guess they didn't understand extended family. I proceeded to tell them and to let them know that it was important to me to have them sit in the family section to represent my family and my sisters had lived the last 10 yeears with. I hope it would not be about "the haves and have-nots". So I re-phrased my needs! I wanted 2 seats, one for my Aunt Kit and Cousin Georgie. That is how Kit became my Aunt and has been ever since. She was a great Aunt too. Always looking out for me and checking in on me. She understoond family! I have such deep sadness since her death....like when my father and brother died. Kit was family to me. I miss her and will carry her with me. I pray for Cousin Betsy and all in the DC area and Will and Laryn. I pray for us RSCJ especially in this Province but know how many lives Aunt Kit touched throughout our Society. May she rest in peace. May we continue to tell our stories about her and celebrate her life.

Kit Collins

Being chased by Mrs. Curtin, broom in hand.    Parents away on a trip and Mrs. Curtin straight from Ireland, in charge of the five Collins children. This is only one of the many memories I have of Kit and her brothers and sister.  There are so many, one could write a novel on the Collins family alone.  For those of us from Coolidge Road in Belmont, Massachusetts,  and who may read this, will definitely remember those special days we all played and laughed and got into trouble together.   I remember visiting Kit at Kenwood, and then again at Narragansett, R. I with Esther and Jim, her parents.  She would surprise us all with occasional trips home for a night of great coversations and steak dinners.  The neighborhood families,( we all were pretty close in those days),we all knew she was destined for greatness.  We all knew Kit was special, and when she entered the order,  that she was about  to make a huge positive mark on our  world in so many ways.  Women of Kit Collins' caliber are few, she was beyond special.  I could go on and on.    She surely will be missed by so many.  May she rsst in peace with the Lord, continue to inspire love, wisdom and laughter to all of us still here and with all of those from Coolidge Road who have warmly greeted her at heaven's gate.


First loving prayer and condolences to each one at the CEDC. We have lost a very gifted and wonderful RSCJ- and we share that loss with you who have worked with her day in and day out over the last months - and years.   I have known and "followed" Kit since her departure for Probation. We lived together in Community for a short but crucial time during the years 1969-1971.  The Washington Province was experiencing many changes in internal and external structures,one of which was the "separation" of the School Authority from that of the Community Authority. - The official relationship between Headmistress and "superior " had changed - so, too, their responsibilities.  We had a new structure and we had to work it out on a day by day basis.  We had no blueprint or road map at that moment  Her integrity, her sense of humor, her "holy boldness" and her vision  were the underpinnings of this transition.In spite of inevitable tensions we loved and supported each other.We even spent a we's summer vacation together at the shores of Chesapeake Bay.   Though the years it has always been a  joy for me to see her, be with her- and even to hear her voice on the telephone.   May she rest inthe peace of the God she loved and served so well. Dorothy Murray (via email)

Thanks Sr. Collins

Sr. Collins was headmistress of Stone Ridge when I was a freshman there. It is because of her that when I graduated from Stone Ridge I felt like I could do anything in the world that I wanted to. The first two weeks of freshman year, she led a group of us in building a Yurt on campus. It didn't last, but the lessons learned building it did. It is because of Kit that I can do basic car mechanics. It's is because of Kit that I became interested in film, and video, and ultimately ended up working in television. It is because of Kit that my education wasn't just learned inside the four walls of a classroom. She was so full of life, energy, and excitement. You couldn't help getting caught up in her enthusiasm for whatever it was she set out to do. My thoughts and prayers go out to her family, friends, and all of the other students whose lives she touched and shaped.   

note to Paris Keenan

I worked with  Kit Collins from 1971 to 1977 in the changes in curriculum at Stone Ridge. I was there with the changes Paris Keenan mentions. Kit came to me  at Harvard and asked if I would not like to come to Strone Ridge to help change the curriculum. I became the head of curriculum there. It was a joy working with her, and making meaningful changes in education. Vernon Dolphin VDolphin709@comcast.net

I've just read through the

I've just read through the preceeding comments and feel the need to add my own word. I cannot imagine the CEDC, the Washington Area, the province and the Society without Kit's presence, wisdom, wit and gentle gratitude. I ahve menay memories of Kit from over the years. One, of a very hot summer night in St. Louis in the Charles Lluwanga Center where a group of us was staying while taking part in a workshop. It was so hot we had spread mattresses on the floor of the only air-conditioned space and settled there. Kit and Maggie (Kilduff) began telling stories and we laughed 'til we cried, for hours. Another, was of Kit phoning me in Los Angeles to ask if I could fly out to Washington over the 4th of July weekend to translate for a meeting of the International Education Commission. I told her it would cost her as it was my only free weekend of the summer. We settled on the price: one bottle of Johnny Walker Red! Three years ago, while at the Mother House in Rome, Kit was telling how I had flown out to Washington on the red-eye to translate for this meeting so many years ago and how grateful she was to me for that. I reminded her (jokingly) that some 20 years later, she still had not "paid" me! Kit was mortified and insisted right then that I take her to the local store where she proceeded to buy 2 bottle of Johnny Walker Red! Kit gave so much of herself to the international Society over the years. She will be msised and her legendary stories will help to keep her memory alive among us all.

Thank God for Kit Collins

During my 18 years of teaching at Stone Ridge Kit's was the cheerful, strong, vibrant presence who kept lay faculty connected to the community.  In the 14 years since those years within Stone Ridge, I and othrs who had dispersed, felt the same link to Stone Ridge through Kit's kindness. She kept us aware, for example, of the health concerns of our mutual friends.  Particularly I loved seeing Kit, faithful to all the needs of her sister in Christ, Janet Reberdy, as she moved toward her transition from the earth she loved so much to the realms beyond.  No matter where Janet was or how she was or what the hour, whenever I went to see Janet (a beloved colleague in the English Department), Kit was just leaving or coming or moving about making Janet more comfortable.  I know that Kit herself experienced that love from all of you.  Please know that those of us who were not officially a part of your community felt warmly welcomed and embraced by the face of Christ we saw on Kit's smiling face.  Also, we admired her for her leadership in using technology for God's purposes, bridging cyberspace and heaven -- on earth and above. As did you, we loved her and as will you, we will miss her.   Eleanor Elson Heginbotham (teacher at Stone Ridge 1976-1994)  

Kit Collins

At my home church in Johnson City, the gospel reading this past Sunday recounted Mary’s anointing of Jesus’ feet with costly perfume.  A radical act of generosity, it brought to mind the generosity I witnessed Kit extend to others in her time at the Center.  Kit’s generosity reminded me that the extravagance of Mary’s action was deeply political:  a prophetic act of anointing that named Jesus king even while his enemies were gathering to put him on trial.  No one has more faithfully modeled to me the union between extravagant generosity and social justice than Kit.  In my mind, Mary’s actions speak to Kit’s vision for the Center as a place of hospitality and social and political change. It was a privilege to have worked under Kit at the Center.  I was, myself, a recipient of Kit’s incredible generosity.  At a point of crisis in my life, Kit extended hospitality to me and would hear nothing of any payment in return.  I continue to reap the benefits of this generosity in my life, and feel an unspeakable depth of gratitude for the way Kit ministered to me during this time in my life.  She put hands and feet on the gospel’s grace and love.  And like Mary, her work over the years will last as an offering of love poured out in honor of Jesus. Miriam Perkins Center Resident Manager 2001-2007 Assistant Professor of Theology and Society Emmanuel School of Religion, A Graduate Seminary


Kit was one of the most transformational, visionary, inclusive, and effective leaders and mentors of my life.  The vision she articulated, the scholarship she engaged, and the inclusive processes she steadfastly supported in leading the Network of Sacred Heart Schools, the Notre Dame Program, the Network Commission on Goals, and her development of leadership and practice in these institutions was strong and sure.  She could both dream and do, both lead and teach, both laugh and cry, and I loved her.  She didn't just pass the torch, she inspired everyone she touched to stand up with courage and add their light to the flame -- giving their best gifts and insights to the work of education and justice.  She built communities, large and small, where people could come together around important work, broaden and rethink their perspectives as they learned from one another and from scholarship, and find the courage to act in transformative, moral ways for human beings and the common good.  What I learned with and from her influenced all that I ever attempted in my own life.  Oh, Kit, the world will miss you and we will miss you -- but we won't forget, we won't forget.  

Warm hospitality and a big heart

Kit embodied what it means to be hospitable, generous, kind, helpful, and inspirational.  My condolences to the RSCJ family and especially Betsy during this time of loss.  I joined all present at the celebration of Kit's life in spirit. THank you Kit for all you have done!   Lisa Gulino, D.Min Candidate CEDC Hospitality Staff 2006-2009 Director of Religious Education Diocese of Providence

Generous heart

I’m so sorry to hear of Sister Kit’s passing. I worked at CEDC from 2006-2009 and have great memories of her. One thing that struck me was her constant concern for those others might miss. She often told us about a man who sold trinkets on the street corner near the grocery store she frequented. She took the time to talk to him and would come back to the Center with some little thing he’d given her. I’ll always appreciate Kit’s generous heart and enduring concern for the marginalized. May she finally rest.

Forever grateful

I first met Kit when I applied for and received my very first job out of college, serving as her Executive Assistant at CEDC from 1989 to 1991. It's really impossible to put into words the profound impact that she had on me and the ways in which my time working with her and the incredible team at CEDC have shaped my life and journey since then--but I'll try. After graduating from CUA as a religion major, I wanted to find a job that would allow me to get involved with social justice issues. Well, was I ever blessed to get hired on at CEDC! Working alongside Kit, Mavi, Melanie, Fe and Angela (all of them such incredible women), seeing their witness, and supporting our efforts as a staff to serve the clients of CEDC was an experience that truly conscienticized me for life. I was like a sponge soaking up a deeper understanding of the world around us and a deeper appreciation for and commitment to Christ's call for us to be instruments of change. (I also learned what an incredible community the RSCJ's are and how so very many women’s religious communities are prophetic voices providing true leadership in the Church and the world.) It was so powerful to see in Kit and all the staff at the Center true examples of living the gospel, of walking with the poor, of speaking truth to power, and of working to build a more just and humane world. On the job experience side of things, I couldn't have asked for a better first boss at my first job. Kit taught me well. She had high standards for excellence, and she gave me great coaching to help me reach those standards in my work. Her expertise as an educator was evident in the ways she taught me as I did my work at the Center. (So many little practical gems have stuck with me, I could write pages about them: like always asking for someone's name on the phone when on a business call of any sort :) Starting one's career as Kit's Executive Assistant is truly great training for one's working life! But more important than learning how to work well and do a good job, Kit was truly committed to and supportive of my being the best person and best Christian I could be. Leaving work on time to get down to St. Al's and serve meals to the homeless every Wednesday night. Taking time off to travel down to Central America to see for myself the realities and injustices that we were working to change through the Center's communications services. Going on retreat and spending time in prayer. Prioritizing time with my family and building community among friends in D.C. Kit encouraged me in all these areas. She encouraged me to live a whole life and to recognize that the job at CEDC was only one part of what it would mean to be faithful. Kit moved quickly from being simply my boss to being my friend. And that friendship remained throughout these many years. Kit had such a way of seeing the potential in people--again, as the great educator she was. And I am so grateful for how she saw and supported the potential in me. When I left the Center to go study and volunteer in Latin America for the next year and a half, she saw and supported it as a perfect next step. It was because of her example and the example of the other great women at CEDC that I took that next step—and then took the many important next steps over the years since then, each step guided by an effort to listen to God's call and to be of use to God's work, just as I saw modeled by Kit and so many others in the RSCJ community. Kit's vision and expertise in utilizing communications and media technology in service of positive social change inspired me tremendously and led to significant choices in my career since my time at CEDC. I remember a photo from a video that was produced at the Center in the late 80’s that showed a cross in the foreground and a large satellite dish in the background in a field somewhere. That image is forever in my memory--a powerful symbol of how Kit's leadership and CEDC's ministry have worked in the world and made use of its technological tools for its very transformation into something more closely resembling the reign of God. I'm sure we all have those people to whom we can trace our journey back and recognize that if we hadn't known that person, the entire path of our life would have been completely distinct from what it has been. Well, Kit is such a person for me. If it weren't for Kit and the experience she gave me at CEDC at the start of my adult life just out of college, my life today would look very, very different. I will be forever grateful for Kit's influence in my life and for her friendship. And I suppose the best way to sum up my appreciation and love for her is to say that whatever small part I've done to make this world a better place are due in large, large part to Kit's mentorship, support, and example. Thank you, Kit. I'll miss you.

From Emma Fernandez, RSCJ

Kit was always joking about anything.  She had a wonderful sense of humor that made us laugh a lot..  Kit was very gifted in many ways,  She was a very friendly person. Kit is probably joking in heaven…  She was very much love and I love her very much. Emma  rscj (via email)  

From Sis Flynn

In the Spring of 1977 I received a phone call from the RSCJ recruiter from our International School in Tokyo who told me that Sr. Kit Collins told her I was interested in coming to Japan !  What ? I had no idea what she was talking about. It turned out that Kit visited communities and schools in the U. S. after her travels to our schools worldwide. When she came to Houston, where I was, she showed slides which included pictures of our houses and schools in Japan. Evidently I said that the Orient had always attracted me, so that is what led to her to say to the recruiter that I wanted to go to Japan. I remember my conversation with Kit and saying to her she ought to run for public office someday. And I did go to Japan. Kit came to speak of the Goals and Criteria in Tokyo, and we went to the Kabuki theatre together. From that experience on, whenever I saw Kit, even last summer in Chicago, she would mock a posture and make sound a la Kabuki actor and we both laughed. The gift of laughter, indeed, is one of your legacies, dear Kit. I think I can hear it now. Thank you for all you have done for the Society and for so many of us individually. Sis Flynn, RSCJ (via email)

Kit Collins and Stone Ridge

Kit Collins was headmistress during my first year at Stone Ridge -- just one year.  But, she left an enduring impression.  She was funny, sharp, caring, patient, strong.  She was always getting something done.  I had just returned from living in Nigeria, and, as a 13-year-old, was a little awed by this purposeful, dedicated, mighty New Englander.  Her presence became a kind of anchor for me.  Years later, I had the good fortune to visit with her and Betsy Hartson at Otis Street on several occasions.  Thanks to all who have shared memories of this wonderful woman.

Memories of Kit Collins

To have Kit sitting in front of me when I was a very young nun teaching the 3rd Academic class at Newton CDSH was a challenge of the first order! To have known Kit as an RSCJ whose git as an educator had many dimensions was a gift. To have known Kit as an RSCJ sister and friend during some very challenging times in the Washington Province was a gift for which I am forever grateful. Jean Ford, RSCJ (via fax)

Memories of Kit Collins RSCJ

In 1978 I began a wonderful educational journey of faith, on-going education and friendship. I had the blessing of meeting Sr. Kit Collins. At the time I was teaching and living at Greenwich. Kit came to meet with friends and while she was there we met for lunch. That meeting was the start of a "renewal" for me and a friendship for both of us. She quickly enlisted me in the leadership program at Notre Dame. This was a four year 'mentorship' program in the graduate program of education. There were about 20 of us in the program at that time in the graduate School of Education. The courses were stimulating and challenging. Kit's "seminar" in RSCJ leadership was the highlight for me. Those of us in the program became a small "RSCJ educational community" and we explored everything from mentoring new teachers and inspiring "veterans" to inspiring students and drawing parents into the educational network. During the school year Kit found time to make "site" visits at our schools and re-inspire us when pressures and problems arose. When I was invited to consider a leadership role in the Sacred Heart Halifax I called Kit immediately and shared both my excitement at the prospect and my fears. ("fools rush in where angels fear to tread") Kit led me through a very helpful examination of the pros and the cons and rejoiced with me when after submitting my credentials, I was "welcomed aboard." Throughout my years in Halifax we kept in touch and she was always my friend and cheering section. Since my returning to the US we have kept in touch only occasionally but I always sensed her close in prayer. I rejoice in her home-going to heaven, miss her greatly and pray for her and for all her close and dear friends still on earth. Judy Brown RSCJ (via fax)


I have always been grateful to Kit for standing up for me at a time when I needed it. People were giving me a hard time about spending the money to go skiing and Kit said, "But you don't smoke do you???" That was at a time when lots of people were buying cigarettes and her remark took away my feelings of guilt.

Losing Kit

I am still stunned by the loss of Kit.  She was one of the most ALIVE persons I've ever known.  Her warmth and great heart, her humor and endless stories, her passion for justice, for the Society, for people -- have been such a gift to all who knew her. I hope we will all continue to experience her greatness as she joins the communion of saints with Barbie and so many others. Certainly there will be much more laughter in heaven!  


Thank you for the opportunity to add a few words to celebrate the Life of Kit. My experience of Kit is there in the stories of others: a wonderfully gifted woman, utterly dedicated to her mission, generous beyond the call of duty, a laugh that I can still hear. Her enthusiasm and encouragement have travelled around the world, and some of it rested here in IRS province. We have much to thank her for. I first met Kit as she came out of a plane in Washington DC. As she walked towards the waiting Stoneridge community, dressed and labelled as the Goals and Criteria, she joined in the spirit of the moment, although she did try to pretend she didn't know the strangely dressed women at the barrier..I cannot find the perfect words to express my sympathy to you all, rscj of US province, the staff in CEDC over the years, or my own sense of loss in her dying, so am just going to say: Thank God for Kit's parents, her family, for Kit. If you can, Kit, just take a rest in peace. You may use the above for sharing. In addition. I would like to pass on special sympathy to George and his wife. They came to Dublin a couple of times and we were happy to welcome them in our community, as Kit's family. I had a great month in CEDC when Kit invited me to come and learn what I could about desktop publishing. I was a greenhorn, and really benefitted from my time there. If I am right, Beth was there at that time. You all there in CEDC will miss Kit so much. Please accept my sympathy. Sincerely, Sandra Mc Sheaffrey  

Going on together in the mission

Just to testimony in my bad English how Kit has been supporting me as a sister at the so hard very beginning of my ministry as rscjinternational's webweaver... A warm-hearted woman with whom I could be myself, sharing my stresses... I will always remember Kit's receptivity to music, to shared wine or "mousse au chocolat", to anything coming from the heart and building relations. Since her death I definitely feel Kit very present (even in France!) and I ask her going on helping us in communications and justice, Peace and Integrity of the Creation.

Kit was unique

Kit was unique: so much fun to be with; so generous; so creative; so thoughtful; an educator through and through.  She had a gift of "calling people forth". Initiating the process of naming, choosing, establishing Goals & Criteria for Schools in the U.S.A., she enabled everyone at every level to be involed.  So great was it, she was invited to many countries to assist in such a process and in the naming of said goals. She intiated the Network of S.H. Schools, initiated a process to enable the Boards of Trustees and/or Advisory Boards to be educated to the GC, taking one group at a time, be it the Pres, Treas.r, Dev. Dir., Math teachers, Admission Dir's, etc.,etc. at each & every level. There were wkshops in the summer, winter, fall, spring, etc. She recognized the gifts of varied persons, esp. RSCJs and called them forth to give talks, e.g. Kay Baxter, Peggy Brown, etc. She also assisted w. managerial skills, etc. so people would feel comfortable, capable, able to share, etc.  I miss Kit very much. Thanks, Marg.Miller,rscj. (via email)


Kit was one of the most brilliant, funny, and compassionate people one could ever know! She used her gifts to break down barriers of every kind, and to bring people together in wonderful ways.  There are stories that will have to transcend print right now, but how our Kit will be missed!  Rose Marie Quilter rscj (via email)

Honorary Grandmother

Many people have spoken about what a great storyteller Kit was, and I do recall a lot of her stories, from a meal in India that was "not pungent", family stories involving her siblings and the infant of Prague or her dad with his crushed arm, to the time she and her group were lost in the bush in Africa in the middle of the night. She always had a suggestion for getting well if you had a sniffle, or for food if it was lunch time (put the hot dog in the bun, wrap it in a paper towel and microwave for one minute, it will taste just like the hot dogs at the ball park).

The story about Kit that has been on my mind in the last week and a half is how she was like an "honorary grandmother" to Alleia (whose grandparents don't live in the area) and how she accompanied Janel and I last fall in the loss of Cara, and continued to be with us in it up until her own death. As Janel said the day of Kit's funeral, "she was really good at loving people."

It was fun to watch Kit and Alleia interact. She always had a small toy or treat to share with Alleia from a little cache of surprises she kept in her office.

We weren't quite sure how to share the news of Kit's death with Alleia -- the best we could do was to tell her that Kit had gone to be with baby Cara and with Jesus. As it turns out, Kit was buried just across the street from Cara.

Laryn Kragt Bakker