Sister Dorothy Kiley, SNDdeN

Newly Retired: What's Retirement?

If you try to reach Sister of Notre Dame de Namur Dorothy Kiley, don't count on it. On the books, she's retired. In real life, not so much.

After years in education from Chicago to Dayton to Cincinnati, after years running the office for consecutie province leadership teams, after years teaching teachers in Kenya, she's earned a comfortable retirement. But on any given day, she's far from retired. Instead, she's behind the wheel driving Sisters in the Mount Notre Dame Health Center to medical appointments. And it's not just driving. It's managing wheelchairs, it's being another set of ears, it's navigating ever-changing COVID protocols.

When asked, "How's retirement?" she replies, "I don't know what it is yet." Then, "But I'm looking forward to it."

It's a common theme for many older Sisters. The day of retirement has come, but not the reputed slowdown. "The Sisters day to me," says Sister Dorothy, "they say there's always something going on." They say it she says, with both exasperation and gratitude.

As part of her "retirement" activities, Sister Dorothy Kiley (right) accompanies Sisters to their medical appointments. Here, she drives Sister Marie Smith to the dentist.

From 2004 until recently, Sister Dorothy coordinated all medical visits. Now she leaves the coordination to others, but still handles the physical end of things. And with it, juggling the preiiminaries of a move from a Cincinnati neighborhood to the Julie Hall Convent. It hasn't left a lot of time for other things.

But when that day does come when the rumor of retirement becomes more of a reality, Sister Dorothy looks forward to spending more time with the eldest of the Sisters in the Health Center, and to sewing for Sisters who need it. As in years past, it's all about service. Travel doesn't much interest her anymore; she's had a lifetime of it. Nor does going to movies or restaurants hold much allure. 

But even the possibility of those is in the future. She's not there yet. About formal retirement, says Sister Dorothy, "Ask me next year!"

First published in the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur Ohio Province 2021 Annual Report.

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