Sister Rose Daniel Kelleher, MM
Born: March 10, 1911
Entered: December 7, 1938
Died: December 11, 2002
Sister Rose Daniel Kelleher died peacefully in the Residential Care Unit at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY, on Wednesday, December 11, 2002. She was ninety-one years of age and had been a Maryknoll Sister for sixty-four years.
Margaret Mary Kelleher was born March 10, 1911 in St. Louis, MO to Daniel Kelleher and Mary Alice Caidwelder Kelleher. She had two sisters, Ellen and Julia. Margaret Mary attended Notre Dame de Lourdes Elementary School and Rosati-Kain High School in St. Louis. Following high school graduation in 1928, Margaret Mary was employed as an elementary school teacher at St. Teresa’s School in St. Louis for seven years. Margaret Mary loved working with children and began studying elementary education at St. Louis University. She also worked as a teletype operator and night manager at the Postal Telegraph Company for one year.
Margaret Mary became interested in mission while in elementary school. She writes of the ordination of her cousin, Maryknoll Father Maurice Gleason, in 1923 and how this event awakened her interest in mission work. Father Gleason was assigned to China and Margaret Mary would write to him from time to time. Father Gleason’s letters from China helped to develop Margaret Mary’s interest in direct evangelization in Asia as she envisioned herself dedicating her life to this work. She recalls saving her nickels to get a subscription to The Field Afar and each month, when the magazine would arrive, she would immediately put everything else aside and read it from cover to cover.
Margaret Mary entered Maryknoll on December 7, 1938 at Maryknoll, NY. At Reception, she received the religious name of Sr. Rose Daniel, a name she would retain for the rest of her life. She made her First Profession of Vows on June 30, 1941 and her Final Profession of Vows on the same date in 1944 at Maryknoll, NY.
Sister Rose Daniel continued her work in elementary education. As a student at Maryknoll Teacher’s College, she was assigned to Corpus Christi School in New York for practice teaching. Her evaluation gives testimony to her abilities as a teacher: Sister taught her first grade students with the facility of a born teacher. Whenever necessary, instruction was individualized in order to meet special needs. The music work consisting of the teaching of rhythms, singing, dancing and music appreciation was well-planned and skillfully presented. Sister has a charming personality with frankness and a sense of humor predominating. Class response was unanimous. The children loved their music period. Sister Rose Daniel received a Bachelor of Education degree in 1944.
Following graduation, Sister was assigned to San Juan Capistrano, CA as an elementary school teacher. She taught grades 1 and 2 as well as CCD classes for the next five years. In 1949, she was assigned to Monrovia where she did relief work. In 1954, she was assigned to St. Louis where she would teach grades 1 and 2 for the next ten years.
Sister Rose Daniel was assigned to Hawaii in 1964. She would spend the next thirty-two years in Hawaii involved in elementary education and parish ministry. Sister taught second grade at Waialua until 1969 when she moved to St. Ann’s, Kaneohe, where she continued to teach grade 2 students. She began teaching remedial language arts to grade 3 students at St. Ann’s in 1975 and continued in this ministry until 1981. Reflecting on her long career as an elementary school teacher, Sr. Rose Daniel wrote: Maryknoll gave me the opportunity for teacher training. Of all work positions, none seem as well suited to me as teaching. My years in the classroom were as happy as anyone could desire.
In 1981, Sister moved to Lanikai and began a period of semi-retirement. She served as Eucharistic Minister at a local parish and also spent time visiting the sick at a nearby hospital. She also never missed the opportunity for a morning swim in the ocean at Lanikai. Sister wrote of her retirement years: Do you remember how we imagined we would spend our retirement? I pictured myself knitting, reading, puttering around house plants, listening to music, etc. — the rocking chair syndrome. How different retirement really is! There is a hospital within the boundaries of our parish. Every day, one or more parishioners go there to visit and pray with Catholic patients and bring them Holy Communion. I am also a Eucharistic Minister at the local parish and bring Holy Communion to five parishioners who are unable to attend Mass. I attend a Scripture class every Tuesday and am involved in two different prayer groups. I love all these activities and feel that my retirement years are most enjoyable and rewarding.
In 1997, Sr. Rose Daniel made the decision to retire at Monrovia, CA. While at Monrovia, she continued to do volunteer work visiting the sick at a nearby hospital. She remained at Monrovia until May 2001 when she returned to the Center and was admitted to Assisted Living for health reasons. Sister Rose Daniel’s written reflections on her long life as a Maryknoll Sister ended with the following statement: I would feel remiss in ending this without adding that ALL my years at Maryknoll have been specially blessed. I rejoice that I was able to be part of pre-Vatican II religious life. Yet Vatican II brought me many special blessings: permission to be lector at Mass, Eucharistic Minister and many more. I feel that both of these have enriched my life beyond my comprehension. I can only say that I’m deeply grateful for the experiences. I’ll always be grateful to Maryknoll for a happy life. Often I tell people that if I had it to do all over again, I would do the same thing, become a Maryknoll Sister.
We offer our deepest sympathy to Sr. Rose Daniel’s family who were unable to be with us today. We welcome our Maryknoll brother, Fr. Robert Hurteau who will preside at this Eucharistic Liturgy of Christian Burial as we lovingly remember and give thanks for the life of our Sister Rose Daniel.