Biographies

Sister Gladys Green, MM

Born: April 11, 1905
Entered: October 13, 1927
Died: March 1, 2006

Sister Gladys Green slipped quietly from life in Residential Care IV to life with her God on Ash Wednesday, March 1, 2006, at 6:30 in the morning. Sister Sue Baldus had just gone in to say “good morning” to Sister, greeted the aides who were coming to care for Sister as she left and was called back as they discovered she had just peacefully died. A few years ago, when asked if she was afraid of dying, Sister Gladys answered, “I’m in His hands, whenever He’s ready. No, I’m not afraid of dying.” Sister was 100 years of age, 40 days short of her 101st birthday!

Baptized Gladys Mary Green at St. Jerome Parish in Fancy Farm, Kentucky, she was born on April 11, 1905, in Union City, Kentucky, southeast of Lexington, and brought home to the family farm in Fancy Farm close to the Missouri border in northwest Kentucky. She was the fourth child of eight. Her parents, Ida Davis Green and Charles Joseph Green, of Irish-English heritage, had a big task on their hands to raise these children. Herein lies a saga.

At the birth of the last child, when Gladys was fourteen, both her mother and the infant died. Her father, bereft and overwhelmed, took the children after a brief time of care by relatives, to the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth in Memphis, Tennessee, who ran what was then called an orphanage. Here five of the six living children grew up. Mr. Green took the oldest boy with him to work on a government project. For a few years he sent money for care of the children and then disappeared. The children and the family thought he had died. Thirty years later he reappeared.

The marvel of this story is that on his return, each family member received him with love. Though he lived in Utah, contact never again was broken. Gladys herself, by then a Maryknoll Sister, visited him on her Renewal and she, with others in the family, eased his way into Eternity in 1962.

With the help of the Sisters of Charity, Gladys attended a two-year commercial high school and then went to work. She entered Maryknoll on October 13, 1927, received the name Sister Mary Kostka at Reception and made her First Profession of Vows on April 30, 1930, at Maryknoll, New York. She was then sent to the Venard to complete high school and went on to Sisters College at Catholic University in Washington where she received a Teacher’s Certificate. Later she earned a BA in Education from the University of Hawaii.

Sister Gladys was assigned to Hawaii in 1932, her one and only assignment until she returned to the Center. She was there fifty-six years serving as a teacher on Maui, as teacher and principal for twenty-two years at Punahou, as teacher and superior in Waialua, as teacher in Kalihi and St. John’s Honolulu, and finally as librarian at Kaneohe. She was also a member of the Regional Council in 1964.

As her illness took its toll, she thought it wise to return to the Center in June 1988, and was formally assigned on July 1, 1988. For a year and a half she was a member of the Main House Community and then, as her health failed she moved to the Fourth Floor on February 15, 1990. It was here she remained, participating as she could by reading St. Teresa of Avila – a lifetime adventure for her – visiting the Sisters, watching TV and praying. Throughout this time her prayer ministry was the country of El Salvador. Hers was a simple life lived well.

There are only positive words by others to describe Sister Gladys. She was capable, fair and just in her work in Hawaii, thought of there and here as generous, good-natured and well liked. Our staff’s love for her and comments on the day she died indicated that she will be missed. We are grateful to the many Sisters who loved and supported her in Hawaii and here, with special thanks to the Residential Care IV staff.

Today we proclaim God’s love and ours for you, Sister Gladys, and welcome Maryknoll Father Ernest Lukaschek who will officiate at our Liturgy of Christian Burial.