When asked at the tender young age of seventeen what work she would best be suited to, Winifred Kilkenny replied, “Care for others.” Until her death as Sister Marie Canice, at the age of ninety-three, she remained faithful to her youthful zeal and, indeed, spent her life in the service of others.
Winifred Kilkenny was born with her twin, Mary, in 1928 to Bartley and Winnifred in Cleveland. They were the oldest of five siblings, soon to be followed by Kathleen (Kay), Bartley (Bart) and Patricia (Patsy). The children of parents from County Mayo, they made their way as first generation students at Holy Cross School in Euclid, ever proud of their heritage. Winifred then also graduated from Villa Angela Academy before entering the Ursuline Sisters in 1946.
Sister Marie Canice professed her final vows in 1952 after already teaching young students, caring for them at St. Joseph and St. Malachi, both in the city of Cleveland. As the years passed she graced the halls of a number of elementary schools staffed by Ursuline Sisters: St. Charles, St. Clare, St. Patrick (Bridge), St. Joseph (Avon Lake), Christ the King, Holy Cross, St. Jerome, St. Timothy, St. John Bosco and St. Francis de Sales. While teaching she also graduated from Ursuline College with a B.S. in Education.
Faith was at the heart of her vocation, just as family was at the heart of her life. Sister Marie Canice functioned as Religion Coordinator at three of the schools where she served. It is no surprise that in her active “retirement,” she continued in much the same vein. Sister became the sacristan at the motherhouse while also tutoring in the Ursuline Institute of Learning, still finding time to enjoy her siblings, nieces and nephews. In fact, even after she moved to Light of Hearts Villa, it was difficult to find her at home because she often had one foot on the road at dinners, parties, weddings and family events.
Art and movement were also significant in the life of this caring and creative woman. Sister Marie Canice could often be found pedaling away in the Wellness Center at the motherhouse and Light of Hearts. She credited her long life to staying in motion instead of settling in to rest. When she wasn’t serving others or active around the building, Sister Marie Canice also spent countless hours drawing her family and the life around her. How delighted she was to have personal art lessons in her eighties to hone her craft! A tour of her room in her later years always included a proud display of her work.
In the final months of her life, Sister Marie Canice moved to Regina Health Center where her smile was a benediction to staff and residents. Her twinkling eyes and loving heart continued to grace those who visited her with a reminder of the zeal that always marked her dedication to God, the Ursulines, her church and her family.
Services for Sister Marie Canice will be held at St. Francis of Assisi, Gates Mills.
Funeral Mass: Friday, November 26 at 10:30. Masks required. Livestream may be accessed through the parish website or this link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCN63nm7hpEBZ6Ghj2Q2Vo6g
Burial: All Souls Cemetery
Memorial donations may be made to the Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland: www.ursulinesisters.org
Arrangements by DeJohn-Flynn-MylottPrint This Obituary & Condolences