January 20, 1934 – April 8, 2021
The world lost a beautiful soul this week when Kathleen O'Donnell passed away.
The middle of nine children, Kathleen Walsh was born and raised on a farm in County Cork, Ireland. At 19 she came to Brooklyn to work as an au pair, where she met and fell in love with Bill (Don) O'Donnell just a few years later. Together they raised four children, who in turn blessed her with eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
There are people all over Brooklyn who can attest: Kathleen was a deeply spiritual person, who truly lived her faith. Over the years she was involved in a variety of church ministries, as a parishioner at Saint Saviour and Holy Name churches in Brooklyn, and Our Lady of Good Counsel in Mattituck, NY. Each week she volunteered at NY Methodist Hospital, distributing communion to the patients and helping with masses as a Eucharistic Minister. She visited the homebound, bringing them communion and company. And she continued meeting with her prayer group regularly, until recently when her health no longer allowed. Kathleen was a compassionate caregiver outside the church, as well. After raising her own children, she worked with several families caring for their elderly family members.
Kathleen was a talented seamstress, designing and sewing everything from kitchen curtains to wedding gowns - including her own and her daughter's! And she shared her talent, teaching local teens how to sew. She shared her skills and hobbies with her community often: as recently as last fall you would find her pruning, chopping, weeding and planting in her garden on 17th street. You could take the girl off the farm, but no one ever took the farm out of Kathleen! It brought her such pride and joy to see others stop to admire the fruits of her labor.
At home, Kathleen enjoyed reading murder mysteries. Members of her family knew they could always join her on her sofa to chuckle over old movies together on TCM, or watch home renovation shows. Nothing made her happier than spending time with her four children and their families. She was often the smiling center of a rowdy family gathering, full of wild kids and laughing cousins and big dinners, quietly taking it all in. Until someone asked her a question, that is, and she would reply with a wry joke and her wonderful whoop of a laugh. Of all her hobbies and ministries, Kathleen's greatest love by far was that for her family.
Kathleen was a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a great-grandmother, an aunt, a neighbor, and a friend. In her own quiet way, she loved us all. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Catholic Relief Services.
- Catholic Relief Services
Wednesday, April 14, 2021
Mass of Christian Burial
Thursday, April 15, 2021
Thursday, April 15, 2021
April 16, 2021
Kathleen was among the kindest, gentlest and most truly humble people I have ever known, She cared genuinely for others and would do anything for anyone. She had a smile and kind word for everyone she met. No task was beneath her.
I met Kathleen in the Legion of Mary, a group she led at St Saviour for many years. Kathleen had a deep love and devotion to our Blessed Mother. And I have no doubt that Our Blessed Mother welcomed Kathleen into heaven with open arms. My deepest condolences to the family, but know that we now have an advocate who will care for all of us from heaven in an even more powerful way than she did on earth.
It was a true blessing to have known Kathleen O’Donnell. I feel very honored to have been able to call her my friend. I cherish her memory.