Sister Catherine Markey, OSB, a religious sister for 74 years and advocate for social justice and peace, died Dec. 11 in Fort Smith. She was 94.
She was born Sept. 29, 1927, to Joseph J. and Rose Flanagan Markey in Newton, Mass. Sister Catherine had three siblings, and her two sisters also entered religious life.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from the University of Louisiana, Lafayette. On Aug. 15, 1947, Sister Catherine made her religious profession with the Sisters of the Most Holy Sacrament. For 26 years, she taught in secondary schools in Louisiana and Mississippi and later worked as an archivist for the Diocese of Jackson, Miss.
Sister Catherine earned a master’s degree in chemistry and physics from Notre Dame University in 1961, a library science degree from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge in 1973; and completed continuing education workshops in archival and oral history, genealogy, theology and canon law.
She was a longtime archivist for the Diocese of Little Rock, starting in 1979. After being attracted to the monastic life, she transferred to St. Scholastica Monastery in Fort Smith in 1990. Sister Catherine made her monastic profession Aug. 7, 1993. She retired from the chancery in 1995 and worked as St. Scholastica’s archivist and librarian.
Sister Catherine was honored with the Arkansas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty Award, the Bishop Andrew J. McDonald Worker Justice Award and the Father Joseph H. Biltz Award, according to a 2007 Arkansas Catholic article.
Her obituary stated, “Sister Catherine was a dedicated teacher and activist. Her passion for the poor and exploited touched every aspect of her tiny frame and gentle personality. She had a love of animals and root beer. She enjoyed traveling and her faith and love of family and friends never waned.”
She is survived by two cousins, Genevieve Duffy and family from Rockville, Md., and Mary Behan and family from Valley Stream, N.Y., the sisters of St. Scholastica Monastery in Fort Smith and the Sisters of Most Blessed Sacrament in Lafayette, La.
Vespers were held Dec. 28 and a funeral Mass Dec. 29 with interment at St. Scholastica Cemetery. Memorials can be made to St. Scholastica Monastery Continuing Care Fund, P.O. Box 3489, Fort Smith, AR 72913.
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