Sister Catherine Nichol, 95, a Sister of Charity of Leavenworth (SCL), died on Jan. 10, 2020, in Ross Hall at the SCL Mother House, Leavenworth, Kansas.
Sister Catherine Nichol, 95, a Sister of Charity of Leavenworth (SCL), died on Jan. 10, 2020, in Ross Hall at the SCL Mother House, Leavenworth, Kansas. Sister celebrated her 75th anniversary as an SCL in 2019. She was an educator, missionary and pastoral minister with an adventurous spirit and deep compassion for persons who were poor.
Catherine was born on Feb. 24, 1924 in Redmond, Oregon, the first of three children of Bernard E. and Stella Nies Nichol. The family moved to Billings, Montana, where Catherine completed grade school and high school. After working a year, she attended Saint Mary College, Leavenworth as a freshman. On Sept. 5, 1944, she entered the SCL Community. Catherine professed vows on March 10, 1946 as Sister Florence and later returned to her baptismal name.
For 21 years, Sister taught third- and fourth-graders and then science to high school students. She earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from Saint Mary College, Leavenworth, and her master’s in biology from Saint Mary’s College, Winona, Minnesota.
Sister Catherine began her almost 40 years of service in the Peruvian missions in 1968. She worked briefly in Talara and Ayabaca. In February 1971, she helped open the new SCL mission in Chalaco in the Andes Mountains. The Sisters trained laypersons in Church ministries across 65 villages in the region, many accessible only by mule. Sister Catherine considered the mule a valued educational tool because it was her transportation to the villages.
After 20 years, she moved to Piura and did faith formation and sacramental preparation with people in impoverished areas of the city. Sister next coordinated breakfast and lunch programs for children in barrio neighborhoods and purchased fresh fruit to supplement the menu. After 19 years in Piura, Sister Catherine returned to the United States and volunteered in a Latino parish and other ministries in Billings. She retired to the SCL Mother House in 2015 and moved to Ross Hall in 2018.
Sister Catherine’s parents preceded her in death. Survivors include her brother, Bernard Nichol, Belmont, California; sister, Marilyn Rathman (Frank), Santa Rosa, California; nieces and nephews and their families; and her SCL Community.
A vigil will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020 in Ross Chapel, SCL Mother House, Leavenworth. Mass of Resurrection will be celebrated in Ross Chapel at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 17, 2020. Interment will follow in Mount Olivet Cemetery, Mother House grounds. Memorial contributions can be made to the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, 4200 S. 4th St., Leavenworth, KS 66048. Arrangements by Belden-Larkin Funeral Home, Leavenworth.