Sister Rose Marie Kean

Sister Rose Marie Kean died on April 16, 2024, and was buried on April 23, 2024. Rose Marie Kean, a Sister of Saint Joseph for almost 68 years, lived well what we so often say, “To be a Sister of Saint Joseph is to be about relationships.”

As a teacher for 25 years, she did not limit her ministry to what she did in the classroom. From her earliest days, she became involved in many parish activities, including liturgy committees, visiting the homebound, youth retreats, hospital ministry, and organist. That could not have been easy for a sister who was also the music teacher.

In addition, she was happy to spend her summers working at St. Mary Star of the Sea Retreat House, in Cape May, NJ. Throughout her life, her love of the beach provided many opportunities for reflection as well as deep conversations.

With some pressure from the congregation, Rosemarie eventually agreed to study for a master’s degree in pastoral ministry from Boston College. Rose Marie probably could have taught those classes even then but she felt it was important for her to have credentials.

She was missioned to Most Blessed Sacrament in Franklin Lakes, where she spent 35 years serving God and God‘s people with great joy. She was about building relationships, not just with and among those she served, but especially by fostering that relationship which is most important for all of us – our relationship with our loving God.

The first letter of John, states, “See what love God has bestowed on us in letting us be called children of God.” Rose Marie’s desire was to proclaim that message to all. As she accompanied families from birth through death and beyond, her message was to remind all of the love that God has for each of us.

This Sister of Saint Joseph shared laughter and tears as she supported so many through the joys and sorrows of life. One parishioner recently wrote to her and said, “You have pointed so many to Jesus.” Clearly, she accomplished her goal.

We all know how much Rose Marie loved her family. Accompanying her through the death of her sisters, we knew how hard it was for her to be “the last.” But she continued to be the go-to person even in her family and was always ready to listen, to support, and to offer guidance. Her dry wit and sensitivity were gifts to all.

Our Constitutions say, “Called to the radical following of Jesus, in mission and for mission, we are drawn to be with Christ who dwells in the midst of people and who lives wholeheartedly for them.” Rose Marie found Christ in those she served, and she brought Christ through her joy, her energy, and her love.

The thought of leaving Most Blessed Sacrament and coming to the Villa was a difficult one for her, but ultimately, God’s plan was fulfilled.

In this season of Easter, we are reminded of the great joy that is promised to those who are faithful. We can celebrate that Rose Marie is reunited with many who cherished her and that she is drawn into the heart of our loving God whom she has served wholeheartedly throughout her life.

Rose Marie , rest in the peace that you so dearly deserve.