Sister Kathleen P. Coll

Sister Kathleen P. Coll (formerly Sister Regina Carmelita) died on February 18, 2024 and was buried at Saint Joseph Villa on February 23, 2023. As she was dying, Kay’s friends gathered around her hospital bed and prayed the Community prayer of the Sisters of Saint Joseph. After each phrase, one friend affirmed, “Yup, that is you, Kay.”

After a commitment to a traditional education role, at 65 years of age, Kay felt an overwhelming call to go to Haiti where she served for three years. She exhibited no fear nor hesitation, but was willing to do whatever God was asking of her. Even when she came home from Haiti, she brought the Haitian culture and customs with her. She continued her custom of bathing with a small bucket of water, no more than a few cups, and rinsing with a cold shower. She loved the Haitian people and worked with Haitian Solidarity to raise awareness of the country’s poverty and injustice. To be in solidarity with the poor she gave up her car, and learned the bus and train routes.

Over 20 years ago, she began the ESL program in Bayonne, New Jersey. This program is dedicated to teaching English to newly arrived immigrants. The program continues today because Kay inspired some of the Associates of the Sisters of Saint Joseph at Thea House to take over after she retired three years ago. One of the newest members observed, “Kay’s fierce commitment to a faith that does justice was compelling and called forth everything you had to give.” Whether it was joining a march against the death penalty or being on a computer or phone to our congress persons, Kay was at the forefront of each cause and encouraged everyone to do the same.

She assumed the role of cheerleader for her family and was attentive to each person in her presence. Often her days were spent speaking or writing encouraging words to both family and friends. When Kay was preparing to move to the Villa, her friends asked her what was in the big box. “My justice material,” and in small box, “My clothes.” Welcome, Sister Kay Coll, to Paradise where your just reward and your God eagerly await you.