The Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary have served the people of California since 1953. For many years education was the focus here. The Sisters founded and staffed primary schools in the Sacramento / San Joaquin valleys and in the bay city of El Cerrito. Sisters also taught in local high schools and after retirement many continued to do private tutoring especially for disadvantaged children.
Religious formation, including spiritual direction, brought the Sisters into contact with the wider community of the parishes where they served. Family Faith Formation, counselling, visiting of the sick in home and hospital, massage therapy, and volunteering with Hospice were all areas which grew from the focus on parish life and ministries. Sisters worked in collaboration with many agencies and non-profit organizations including Mercy Housing, Hospice, St. Anthony Foundation to name a few. Through Mercy Housing formerly homeless, lonely, often disabled elders found safe housing within well maintained and managed buildings as well as referrals to resources. Most of all they experienced attentive, compassionate accompaniment.
Although she is the only active Sister of the Sacred Hearts ministering here in California, Sister Kathleen’s role as a Nurse enables her to participate in several meaningful ministries. She is a member of the Kairos Psychology Group which is located at Jack London Square, Oakland, and provides comprehensive assessments for Clergy and Religious who are experiencing some life distress or crisis in their ministry. Fr. Stephan Kappler, PhD psychology, is Director of the team which includes Dr. Tim Sinclair, M.D., Psychiatrist; Deacon Noe Gonzalez / Sister Dorothy Peterson, FCJ, spiritual directors; Sister Kathleen Laverty, SSHJM, Registered Nurse. Assessments are made of Psychological health, Psychopathology, Spiritual and Physical wellbeing. At team conference, following the assessments, resources are recommended and referrals made to the person as well as to their Bishop or Religious Superior for follow up action. Sister Kathleen has been a member of this Group since its founding in February 2014.
Currently one Sister remains in California to carry on the legacy and presence of the Sisters. Sister Kathleen Laverty grew up in the San Francisco Bay area. Her lifelong apostolates have been in healthcare including primary nursing at Mercy General Hospital, Sacramento, midwifery in Zambia, Africa and general nursing / public health nursing at St. Anthony Medical Clinic in the Tenderloin, San Francisco, where adult and pediatric care is provided a large underserved population, many of whom are immigrants. St. Anthony Clinic is one of many programs of St. Anthony Foundation which has provided a gateway to the California school system for new immigrant children newly arrived from more than fifteen countries. St. Anthony dining room is well known as the first and longest serving provider of free meals to San Francisco’s needy, up to 3,000 meals per day.
Sister Kathleen meets and encourages Sacred Heart Companions in prayer, participates in the diocesan planning team formed in response to the recent Assisted Suicide Bill passed into law in California, helps a disabled priest of the Diocese who has no family in the area, visits parishioners in home and hospital and creates original greeting cards. She is researching and writing the story of the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary’s presence and service here in California.