The eldest of five and the only girl, Kathleen Dolan (Kathy) was born in Washington D.C. Growing up in Darien, Connecticut she lived near the Sacred Heart School in Noroton. She attended public schools until high school, when she attended the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Greenwich, Connecticut as a five-day boarder. It was during her sophomore year that she first had a quiet conviction that God was leading her to become a religious. She graduated in 1956.
While in school, Reverend Mother Anne Stoepel acted as Sister Dolan’s “hound of heaven” as she puts it. “She gently pursued me during my school years and thereafter.” Sister Dolan returned to the Convent of the Sacred Heart after two years at Duchesne Residence School where she obtained a degree in Education. She taught third grade and recalls those as “some of the happiest years of [her] life.” She remained there until 1961. It was Reverend Mother Fitzgerald’s letter saying that she expected to see Sister Dolan at Kenwood in September that acted as “God’s final nudge that got me over Kenwood’s threshold.” Sister Dolan entered the Society on September 7, 1961 and made her first vows on March 9, 1964 at Kenwood in Albany.
After making her first vows, Sister Dolan stayed at Kenwood to teach fifth grade for three years before becoming the surveillante of the junior school. Her probation took place in Greenwich, Connecticut under the direction of Sister Mickey McKay. Her final profession was on September 27, 1969. The next forty-one years (1969 to 2010), she held the roles of teacher, administrator, and student. She served at Newton Country Day School in Newton, Massachusetts as Director of the Middle School; at Convent of the Sacred Heart (91st Street) in New York City as a teacher; at the Academy of the Sacred Heart in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan as Head of the Lower School and on her return at a later time as Campus Minister. She also served at Sacred Heart Schools in Atherton, California as the Campus Minister.
She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Art History from Manhattanville in 1968 and her Master’s in Administration from the University of Notre Dame in 1977. Through all of this, Sister Dolan thinks of the nine years she spent in Houston as the Head of the Lower School at Duchesne Academy as her happiest. “Those years were filled with incredible people who became lifelong friends and an experience of personal growth.”
In 2010, Sister Dolan took a sabbatical before returning to campus ministry at the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Greenwich, Connecticut. She was here until 2013 when she moved back to Atherton, California and began her current ministry in Formation to Mission. She now resides at Oakwood.
Sister Dolan believes that St. Madeline Sophie would look on the Society of the Sacred Heart with love. “She would be encouraging faithfulness to her vision of education and generosity in the gift of ourselves in living out her mission—to make known the love of God.” As St. Madeline Sophie said, “by our charism we are consecrated to glorifying the Heart of Jesus” to “radiate the very love of His Heart.” Sister Dolan believes that Sophie built a strong foundation focused around these words and “taught us well that we discover that love we are called to radiate through prayer, the Eucharist, and attentiveness to the Spirit. Nourished by the Eucharist and God’s word, we can glorify God by the life we live and through our relationship with others.”