“I entered to do great things for the Lord and I learned that just living a religious life is a great thing.”
Sister Lucy Keaney, OSB, of the Monastery of St. Gertrude was born into eternal life on June 6, 2016. She died peacefully surrounded by sisters and caregivers. She will be remembered for her excellence in nursing and faithfulness to religious life.
Sister Lucy was born on September 11, 1924 in Alameda, California, the last of her parents’ four girls and one son. She was named Gertrude after her mother, and in a seeming stroke of destiny, after the patron saint of the religious community she would eventually enter at the age of 25. At her First Profession on August 20, 1951, she became the namesake of St. Lucy.
Gertrude grew up in San Francisco, attending Catholic school and reading nearly everything she came across. “Even through my phases of wanting to be an actor or dancer, I always wanted to be a sister,” she says. In her reading she discovered the story of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, who lived and taught a spirituality of attending to everyone and everything well and with love – an influence that would define Sister Lucy’s life of faithfully tending to the sick and infirm.
Her older sister, Madeleine, entered the Sisters of St. Joseph and was soon working at an orphanage in Lewiston, Idaho. It was on a trip to visit her that the young Gertrude discovered St. Gertrude’s. “I entered to do great things for the Lord,” she says, “and I learned that just living a religious life is a great thing.”
If you were ever lucky enough to have Sister Lucy Keaney as your nurse, you knew you were in good hands: Your bed was clean and wrinkle-free, your back was rubbed, your teeth were brushed – and Sister Lucy seemed to always come into your room exactly when you needed her. What’s more, she had the ability to keep you laughing and could quickly correct an unruly patient down the hall. Her reputation as an excellent caregiver grew over her 32 years at St. Mary’s Hospital in Cottonwood and her subsequent seven years of providing in-home care in Portland, Oregon.
Sister Lucy is survived by her sister, Sr. Madeleine Keaney, CSJ, sister-in-law Mrs. Elisa Maria Keaney, her nephew Steven Keaney, and her monastic community.
A Rosary Vigil Service was held on Thursday, June 16, 7:00 PM and the funeral liturgy was held on Friday, June 17, 1:30 PM at the Monastery chapel. Memorial gifts in Sister Lucy’s honor can be made to the Monastery of St. Gertrude, 465 Keuterville Road, Cottonwood, Idaho, 83522 or online.