Spotlight: Sister Mary John Kearney, OP


Preaching Through Teaching


Sr. Mary John Kearney, OP, a Dominican Sister of Caldwell for seventy-two years, has lived these years in service to the Church and her community as an educator of students at the elementary, secondary and collegiate levels. Her ministry has involved her professionally in extensive work as a member of boards of education both public and private and provided her opportunities to engage in the challenging issues affecting the wider community at the local, state and national levels of education.  

Living the four pillars of Dominican life—prayer, study, community and mission—along with the motto, Veritas, is the road each Dominican strives to walk faithfully each and every day of our lives. Sister Mary John’s travels on her road of life are extensive, faithful to the call and worthy of note. Her mantra has been consistent in her life—preaching through teaching.  

Sister’s professional ministry has been as a teacher and school administrator. Over the years, her enjoyment as an educator has been evident as she interacted with her students, faculty, staff and parents. Her enthusiasm for teaching and learning challenged and supported both faculty and students in fostering a community of learners. Sister’s professional experiences include membership on several boards of education at the national, state and local levels. Her work with the National Catholic Education Association fostered her love of the mission of Catholic education at all levels and gave her numerous opportunities to share her insights with other educators in the field of education.

As a community member, Sr. Mary John has served as novice director and as a local leader (Superior). She currently is assistant coordinator of the mission designees of our educational institutions and serves as a trustee on two boards: Lacordaire Academy and Caldwell University.

Sister is chair of the Commission on Global Issues for the Dominican Sisters of Caldwell. Her work in peace and justice has engaged her since the 1960s. Responding to the needs of our time has always been what we, as Dominicans, are about. The social justice issues of climate change, peace and security for all, racism, economic justice, human trafficking, and immigration/migration present the broad spectrum of issues that challenge each of us to be active and engaged in the work of justice. The exciting and inspirational effort of each member of the Commission on Global Issues is evident in each person’s active work in preaching by example as they carry out the varied strategies agreed upon at the outset of each year. Associate members of the Community have added tremendous energy and commitment to the organization through their work in social justice. As a reflection on Dominican life and the years of service that Sister Mary John has experienced as an educator and administrator, we are reminded of the grace of God in the lives of our Dominican women of the Church and the gratitude we feel for opportunities received to touch the lives of so many as we continue to spread the gospel message, “Peace, I give you.”

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