Kathleen Annie Hickey was born on February 4, 1927 in South Brisbane. She was the first child of John and Mary (nee Toohey) Hickey, and older sister of Mary and John. Their father died in 1932 leaving the small family dependent on their mother who had to return to full-time work in order to support them. Kathleen learnt early in life how to be reliable and responsible both at home and at school.
Kathleen met the Sisters of the Good Samaritan at St James Primary School, Coorparoo, where she received her primary education. In 1944, she completed her secondary education at Lourdes Hill College, having spent part of the time as a boarder in Gayndah when the College was evacuated in 1942.
After leaving school, Kathleen worked as a sales ledger keeper for four years in a Brisbane office. She enjoyed these years and often commented that she had vivid memories of the influx of American soldiers at the time. With other young people, she did voluntary work on Sundays at CUSA House, serving meals to the servicemen.
In 1947, Kathleen sought admission to the novitiate of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan. Her request was granted and, on January 6, 1948, Kathleen began a new phase in her life. She was given the religious name of Sister Mary Urban. When the opportunity came later to revert to her baptismal name she was once again known as Kathleen. She made her profession of vows on January 6, 1951, and transferred to the Teachers’ Training College, Glebe Point where she gained her Certificate of Teaching.
Kathleen embarked on a ministry of teaching in 1952 and spent almost 30 years teaching in the infants department in both New South Wales and Queensland. She loved teaching the little ones and offered the hand of friendship to all in the communities in which she lived and ministered.
Early in life Kathleen developed many skills as a home-maker and generously and cheerfully shared her culinary and craft skills to enhance the lives of those with whom she lived. To the day before she died, she was knitting squares for rugs for the homeless.
Kath was an avid reader and had a phenomenal memory. She loved recalling her early childhood and her experiences in religious life. She loved her family. She was a good storyteller and enjoyed sharing her family history. She had great admiration and appreciation of her mother’s hard work to support the family after her father died.
In 1983, Kathleen took up the ministry of pastoral care of the sisters living at Polding Villa and, in the latter years of her active life, she engaged in pastoral visitation in the various communities in which she lived. She shared her own deep faith, love for and trust in God with all to whom she ministered and found great solace in her later years in praying the rosary, her beads never far from her hands.
During 1997, Kathleen joined Sister Verna Holyhead’s pilgrimage to Israel and Rome and she was grateful for this wonderful opportunity. In 2001, she returned to Queensland and retired from active ministry living at Wynnum West until she moved to Marycrest in 2010.
Kath loved people. With limited mobility in her later years, she sat in her comfy chair with the door to her room open and greeted all who passed by with a wave and an invitation to come and have a chat. She was deeply appreciative of all who cared for her and was much loved by all who visited her, her family, her Good Sam sisters, staff and residents alike.
Though she had been sick at various times throughout her life and especially during the last few years, her sudden death, on the morning of June 2, came as a shock to all who cared for her.
Kathleen is survived by her sister-in-law, Rita, her nephews, Patrick and Paul, and her much loved grand nieces and nephews. She is remembered with love and gratitude by all her Good Samaritan Sisters, family and friends.