Obituary Sister Kaye Ashe worked for women’s equality

sinsinawa_kaye_ashe_lgSister Kathleen “Kaye” Ashe, OP (Sinsinawa), died Feb. 15, 2014, at Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital, La Grange, Illinois. Her religious name was Sister Keverne.

Sister Kaye was a respected writer, lecturer, leader, and researcher whose work led to greater awareness of women in the Church and society. She made her first religious profession as a Sinsinawa Dominican Aug. 5, 1950, and her final profession Aug. 5, 1953. Sister Kaye taught elementary school for seven years and ministered in various higher education positions for 28 years. The majority of those years, she ministered at Rosary College/Dominican University, River Forest, Illinois, in the following roles: director of Junior Year Abroad program; associate professor of history; director of continuing education; director of the Rosary-in-London semester, London, England; associate academic dean; dean of the Graduate School of Art, Florence, Italy; assistant to the president; and trustee, serving three separate terms.

Sister Kaye was elected to two terms as prioress of the Sinsinawa Dominican Congregation, a position she held for eight years. She later served the congregation in development for four years. Sister Kaye has lectured widely and is the author of “Today’s Woman, Tomorrow’s Church” and “The Feminization of the Church?” plus many individual chapters in other books, articles and book reviews. She worked in copy editing for three years, and ministered as a spiritual director for four years. Sister Kaye served in Maryland, Wisconsin, Illinois and California as well as Fribourg, Switzerland; London, England; and Florence, Italy. She also served as the president of the Dominican Leadership Conference.

Sister Kaye was a leader in justice activities and organizations, such as Mary’s Pence, a fund providing money to grassroots women’s projects, where she served as the first board president. Sister Kaye spoke out forcefully and frequently about injustice, especially about issues of sexism and racism, and was at the forefront of those working for structural and societal change. She challenged those in the Congregation and beyond to stretch past differences, to dialogue openly and respectfully as members and persons of faith striving for common ground. She wrote, “The search—for self, for wisdom, for love, for truth, for justice, for God—is strenuous and unending. We need good companions in order to persevere in it. In good company, in a community of conviction, the quest never loses its relevance, its urgency, or its savor.”

Sister Kaye was born Jan. 29, 1930, in Chicago, the daughter of Henry and Julia (Fitzgerald) Ashe. Her parents; two sisters, Mary Ellen Waldron and Marcella Savant; and three brothers, Thomas Ashe, Gerald Ashe, and Harold Ashe, preceded her in death. She is survived by nieces, nephews, and her Dominican Sisters with whom she shared life for 63 years.

Broadcasts of the wake and funeral for Sister Kaye are available online at

Memorials may be made to the Sinsinawa Dominicans, 585 County Road Z, Sinsinawa, WI, 53824-9701 or online at