Sister Kathryn Sullivan, R.S.C.J.


Sister Kathryn Sullivan, R.S.C.J., a pioneer in modern Catholic biblical studies and the first woman to be accepted into the Catholic Biblical Association, died Sept. 22 at Kenwood Convent of the Sacred Heart in Albany. She was 101. She taught history, religion and sacred Scripture at Manhattanville College in Purchase, at that time operated by her religious order, 1938-1984. She also lectured at major Catholic seminaries in New York, Philadelphia and Rome, including St. Joseph's Seminary, Dunwoodie, in the 1970s and 1980s. She was the author of many books, articles and translations, including some of the first Catholic biblical manuals and textbooks of the second half of the 20th century. She was a founding editorial board member of the Catholic Biblical Quarterly and The Bible Today. Born in Philadelphia, she entered the Society of the Sacred Heart in 1928 after earning a bachelor's degree at Manhattanville and a master's in history at the University of Pennsylvania, where she later earned a doctorate in history. When she entered the field of biblical studies in the 1950s, it was largely the province of priests; women were not admitted to advanced degree programs in Scripture studies, so Sister Kathryn studied privately with Msgr. John E. Steinmueller, founder of the Catholic Biblical Association. She co-authored many works on Scripture with him. In 1958 she became the first woman to hold a major post in the Catholic Biblical Association when she was elected its vice president. Sister Kathryn received the Edith Stein Award for significant accomplishments in Catholic-Jewish relations and held five honorary degrees. A Funeral Mass was celebrated Sept. 26 at the convent in Albany, with burial in the convent cemetery.


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