“Come celebrate with me, for God has been terribly faithful to this ‘piece of clay’ to which God gave ‘the breath of life’ and ‘called’ some 60 years ago!”

60th Jubilee Reflection

It was my family and teachers who prepared me to pay attention to God’s stirrings within. However, like so many, I avoided them as much as possible. Enamored of so many things and experiences at 18, I asked God, “Are you sure about this?” I was not sure I had enough faith for this. But I was willing to try, even though it was a life I viewed as extremely limiting of my desires to explore all the world had to offer, plus having a meaningful life of love and work. I was sure I would be bored by endless routine living. Oh my, the folly of youth.

And God has been utterly faithful! I am so thankful and amazed at all that God continues to be for us. When I think of my own efforts at generosity and faithfulness, there is no comparison with God’s generosity, patience, compassionate forgiveness, and love for me and all human persons as well as the rest of God’s creation.

Those limits and restrictions I perceived at 18 were rather just doors opening to all sorts of paths which led to a community that nurtures my relationship with God, brings me into relationship with diverse persons, opens many ways of service to others, encourages continuous study of what life really means, and offers a truly expansive and everlasting experience of God as love.

In less wordy language, my life has been one of prayer, companionship, wisdom, laughter, and meaningful work. Alleluia!

Life Story

Mary Kathryn was born on July 31, 1942 in Kalamazoo to James and Loretta Oosdyke at “Borgess Hospital where gorgeous babies are born.” The family moved back to Grand Rapids early in Mary Kay’s life, and the birth of her sister Diane completed the family. She attended local parish schools and Mount Mercy Academy. In 1960, she joined the congregation and received the name Sister Mary Amanda of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, later returning to her baptismal name.

Sister Mary Kay received a BA, and an MA in Religious Education from Aquinas College,and an MA in Education from Michigan State University. Later she earned an MA in Systematic Theology from the Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis and a Ph.D. in Theology and Education from Boston College.

She began her teaching career in 1965 in elementary schools in Michigan. In 1972, she began teaching at Aquinas College, first in the Education Department and later in the Theology Department. In the 1990s, Sister Mary Kay was the Director of the Graduate Ministry Program at Ursuline College in Cleveland, Ohio and in 2003 she became Academic Dean at Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, Missouri.

Sister Mary Kay served as director of the congregation’s Associate Life program from 2008-2017. She taught theology at Aquinas College. For relaxation she enjoys film, reading, dinner with friends and kayaking.

Today, Sister Mary Kay Oosdyke is supporting pastors and parish staff by providing adult formation and spiritual formation workshops, seminars, and retreats.