Alumnae Service Award

Kathleen Phelan,OP, like every member of the Dominicans of Sinsinawa lives a life dedicated to service.

She is a proud graduate of Saint Vincent Ferrer Parish School, River Forest, Il. Early on, she learned that small acts of service and kindness are an integral part of neighborhood life. Her family modeled the value of service. After graduating from Trinity in 1963 in the illustrious self-proclaimed “first class,” and later entering the Sinsinawa Dominican Congregation, she graduated from Edgewood College, Madison, Wisconsin, with a BA in History.    

For twenty-five years, Kathleen served in Sinsinawa Dominican-sponsored secondary schools in Madison and Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin and Burbank, IL teaching students social studies: history, political science and government and serving school communities in administration as principal and development director.  Personifying the power of relationships, the challenge and joys of teaching was always sprinkled with moderating clubs and classes, leading field trips and service projects.

Deciding she could “graduate” from teaching in high schools and using her knowledge and skills in development, and a passion for educating for justice, Kathleen ministered as Development Director at NETWORK: Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, Washington, DC and later served as the Development Director at Saint Dominic’s Home, Blauvelt, NY, one of the largest human service agencies in New York State. 

Being a Dominican is synonymous with “lifelong learner.”  Living the value of study, Kathleen earned two master's degrees, an MEd from the University of San Diego and an MA from the University of San Francisco, while teaching full-time. Later, she earned Advanced Certificates in Justice and Peace Studies from the Maryknoll School of Theology and a Certificate in Philanthropy from New York University. 

Other service-learning opportunities afforded her travel and study with communities in Kingston, Jamaica, India, Ethiopia and Uganda, and a study sabbatical in Wicklow, Ireland. The people of these diverse global communities continue to inspire her daily life. 

Believing that service on boards brings the opportunity to contribute leadership and a learning ear and heart to worthy organizations, she has served on boards such as Pax Christi USA, Leviticus Fund, New York, and NETWORK Education Program, Washington, DC. 

Kathleen served two terms in elected leadership of the Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa. 

Currently, slightly “retired,” Kathleen serves on the Sinsinawa Dominican Alternative Investment Committee, the Madison Sinsinawa Dominican Anti-Human Trafficking Committee, the board of the Institute for Communal Contemplation and Dialogue, and The Board of Trustees of Edgewood College, Madison, Wisconsin.
Yes, by virtue of our vows, every Sinsinawa Dominican lives a life of service. I am so fortunate to have known that witness at Trinity. “First Class!”