Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302
the Inland Register
(From the Sept. 15, 2011 edition of the Inland Register)
Maryknoll Sister Agnes McKeirnan died peacefully, at Maryknoll Sisters Residential Care on Sept. 1. She was 100 years old and had been a Maryknoll Sister for 71 years.
The vespers service was Sept. 8; the funeral Mass was celebrated Sept. 9, both at the Maryknoll Sisters Center in Mary-knoll, N.Y. Burial was at the Maryknoll Sisters Cemetery.
Agnes Cletus McKeirnan was born in Pomeroy, Wash. on Oct. 1, 1910 to Rose F. Jaspers and Joseph Michael McKeirnan. She had five brothers and three sisters. Her parents, four brothers and two sisters have pre-deceased her.
Agnes graduated from Pomeroy High School and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree and Master of Arts in English at the University of Idaho, Moscow. In 1961 she attended the University of Hawaii, where she earned a certificate in English and team teaching and in 1963 she attended Fordham University, earning a certificate in Modern Literature.
She later attended Hong Kong University in Hong Kong, where she earned a certificate in Chinese Customs in 1965 and a certificate in English in 1970.
After teaching for several years at various high schools in Idaho and for 3 years in Pomeroy, Agnes entered the Congregation of the Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic at Maryknoll, NY on July 2, 1940. At her reception she was given the Religious name of Sister Rose Eileen. Her first profession of vows was made at the Sisters Mother-house, Maryknoll, N.Y., on March 7, 1943 and her final vows in Hawaii on March 7, 1946.
Sister’s first assignment was to Hawaii in 1943, where she taught in the Maryknoll high schools in Punahou and Wailuku, and at Chaminade College in Punahou. She then taught for one year at Maryknoll Teachers’ College, Ossining, N.Y., while doing some updating at Fordham University.
Sister Agnes was assigned to Hong Kong in 1964, where she taught secondary school in Hong Kong (1964-66) and Maryknoll Convent School, Kowloontong (1966-93).
Over a period of 23 years in Hong Kong, Sister Agnes helped to prepare two generations of young Chinese women to take their place in a rapidly changing society in one of Asia’s most populated urban centers.
She retired to the Maryknoll Sisters’ house in Monrovia in 1994 where she remained until 2000 when she returned to the Maryknoll Sisters’ Residential Care Community at Maryknoll, N.Y., where she resided until her death.