HONG KONG (SE): Maryknoll Missionary Sister Helen Marie Kenny who served in Hong Kong for 44 years of her missionary life, died on 4 January 2020 at the Maryknoll Sisters Centre in Maryknoll, New York. She was 88 years old and had been a Maryknoll Sister for 70 years.
Sister Kenny was born in Manhattan, New York to Margaret (Hanley) Kenny and James Patrick Kenny. After graduating from high school, she entered the Maryknoll Sisters Novitiate in 1949. She made her first profession of vows on 7 March 1952 and exactly three years later on the same day, 7 March 1955 she professed her final vows.
Sister Kenny received her first overseas mission assignment to Hong Kong in 1958. She studied Cantonese and served as a nurse at Kwun Tong Clinic. She served as supervisor of operating room and ward in Our Lady of Maryknoll Hospital in Wong Tai Sin for three years until she returned to New York in 1964.
She returned to Hong Kong in 1970 after obtaining a Master’s Degree in Nursing Administration at Columbia University, New York. On her return to the Maryknoll Hospital, she continued her service as nursing service director from 1970-1984.
After a four-years break for congregational services in New York, Sister Kenny returned to Hong Kong in 1988 and set-up a hospice care unit at Maryknoll Hospital. For the next two decades, she rendered her services to the Hong Kong society in varied capacities.
She was the honorary secretary for the Hospice Board and Executive Committee till 2000 and served on the Board of Governors at Our Lady of Maryknoll Hospital and at the Hospital Authority till 2011.
She was instrumental in setting up Bradbury Hospice Centre, the first hospice in Hong Kong and also Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centre, the first such centre outside Britain.
Sister Helen returned to New York In 2012 to retire.
Her funeral Mass was held on January 8 in the Chapel of the Annunciation at the Maryknoll Sisters Centre followed by the interment.