Age 79

Sister Katherine Cairone, formerly Sister Mary Antonia, was a Sister of Mercy for 56 years. Sister Kathy received her Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from Georgian Court University (then College) and began her teaching career at St. Rose High School, Belmar, New Jersey.

On September 8, 1965, Sister Kathy entered the Novitiate of the Sisters of Mercy at Mount Saint Mary in Watchung, NJ. She began her teaching career at Mount Saint Mary Academy in the Novitiate at age 27. At the same time, busy fulfilling her lifelong dream to be a teacher, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. And although the illness began to affect her severely, she was still able to minister as a teacher in Cathedral High School and then Grammar School in Trenton, Notre Dame High School in Lawrenceville, St. James High School in Red Bank, and Collier School in Wickatunk, all in New Jersey. Eventually, multiple sclerosis wracked her entire body, and she was diagnosed as a “medical” quadriplegic.  In 1986 Sister Kathy became a resident at McAuley Hall Health Care Center, where she resided until her death on August 31, 2022.

Because of her physical condition, Sister Kathy initially had to be transported to all her activities, including meals and daily prayers. But thanks to the fund-raising efforts of business executive Lou Del Castillo, who is now deceased, a state-of-the-art wheelchair, which was maneuvered by the direction of her chin, was purchased for her use. After that, Sister Kathy could travel around the facility on her own, giving her the independence she had lacked for so long and enhancing the quality of her life. Del Castillo also helped raise funds to purchase a voice-activated computer for her, which opened up a world of opportunities.

Sister Kathy, having never painted before, began Mouth Painting in 1991. Her media has been oils, acrylics and watercolors. Sister’s paintings have included the Twin Towers, landscapes and still life. Her works have been shown at exhibits, and she has won and placed in many art contests. Her time with art provided her with many opportunities for creativity and accomplishment.