DONALDSON, Ind. — Sister Mary Kathleen Kuenstler, PHJC, died on Oct. 28 at the Catherine Kasper Home.
Sister Kate was born in St. Louis on Jan. 21, 1949 and she was adopted by Lawrence Kuenstler and Lorraine (Buerster) Kuenstler, who preceded her in death. Her siblings include her brother, Matthew (Deb) Kuenstler and her sister, Agnes Schoultz.
Sister Kate’s interest in the Poor Handmaid Community began as a farm girl in Illinois at Holy Cross Parish, where she was introduced to the Poor Handmaids’ charism by her teachers. She entered the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ on Aug. 25, 1967 and professed her vows on Aug. 5, 1970.
She received her bachelor’s in education from St. Joseph College in East Chicago, Ind., and began her first ministry in education as an elementary teacher for almost 10 years at schools in Indiana and Minnesota. Sister Kate went on to receive her master’s degree in religious education and ministered as a director of Education and a diocesan consultant in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois and in the Diocese of Belleville.
Sister Kate pursued canon law and in 1992 she received her licentiate in canon law and her doctorate in canon law from St. Thomas Aquinas Pontifical University, Rome, Italy.
Her career in canon law ministry began as a judge in marriage tribunal. Later, she initiated her own private practice as an independent canon lawyer. Sister Kate’s practice covered many states and countries, including Canada and Australia.
Following an unexpected illness, Sister Kate moved to Catherine’s Cottage in January 2019 and then to the Catherine Kasper Home in May 2019.
A funeral Liturgy was held in the Catherine Kasper Home Chapel and burial followed in the Mt. Carmel Cemetery, at The Center at Donaldson.
Memorial contributions can be made to the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, PO Box 1, Donaldson, IN 46513 or online at www.poorhandmaids.org.