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Sister Kathleen Kovacs, leader in Sisters of Social Service

Jan. 23, 1925 – Dec. 8, 2016

Sr. Kathleen Kovacs

Sr. Kathleen Kovacs

Sister Kathleen Kovacs, a district leader in the Sisters of Social Service, died Thursday in the Clarence Residence of the Sisters of St. Joseph after a brief illness. She was 91.

Born in Szekesfehervar in central Hungary, the youngest of seven children, she graduated from junior high school in 1938, attended a business school, then worked in a parish office as a bookkeeper. Later she received teacher training and began to teach kindergarten when she felt a call to religious life. She was accepted into the Sisters of Social Service (SSS) in 1950.

A few months later, the Communist government suspended all religious orders and she was obliged to find work. She had a job at a metallurgical laboratory from 1951 to 1956, but continued her religious training secretly.

She had almost finished her novitiate when the Hungarian uprising took place in 1956. After the rebellion was defeated, she escaped to Austria with other secretly trained novices and the SSS leadership arranged for them to join members in Buffalo for further training and ministry in the U.S.

She and her group arrived in the U.S. in May 1957 and continued their novitiate. The following year she was assigned to be a group mother for 6- to 10-year-old girls in the House of Providence in Syracuse, which the SSS administered from 1958 to 1970.

When it closed, she was transferred to Akron, Ohio, where she worked in a Hungarian parish, teaching religion classes and the Hungarian language and visiting families at home and in hospitals. She also was a nurse’s aide at St. Thomas Hospital in Akron.

In 1980, she was elected to SSS District Council and returned to Buffalo. Three years later she was re-elected to the council and served as assistant district moderator. She also served at the former Precious Blood Parish in Buffalo’s Clinton-Bailey neighborhood as a pastoral associate until she retired in 1996.

In retirement, she volunteered as a minister of the eucharist at Timon Towers, where she lived. She also helped with bookkeeping and the Christmas Wheat Project.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Monday in Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, 1035 Delaware Ave.

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