Sister Kathleen Kovacs, SSS, of the Sisters of Social Service, died Dec. 8, 2016, in the residence of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Clarence. She was 91.
She was born Jan. 23, 1925, in Székesfehérvár, Hungary, to Michael and Maria (Zima) Kovacs. After finishing junior high school in 1938, she attended a business school to learn how to work as a parish bookkeeper. She also received training as a teacher and taught kindergarten until she was accepted into the order of the Sisters of Social Service in 1950. Shortly after this, the Hungarian government disallowed religious orders.
Sister Kathleen secretly continued her novitiate while publicly working for a metallurgical laboratory from 1951 until 1956. After the 1956 Hungarian uprising, she fled to Austria with other novices. Leadership of the Sisters of Social Service arranged for them to be sent to the Buffalo area in 1957.
In 1958, Sister Kathleen became a group mother for young girls in the House of Providence in the Diocese of Syracuse, which the order ran until 1970. After this, Sister Kathleen began serving in Akron, Ohio, where she taught religious education and language in a Hungarian parish. She also served at a hospital.
In 1980, she became a member of the order's district council and returned to the Diocese of Buffalo. She later became assistant district moderator. Sister Kathleen also served at Most Precious Blood Parish in Buffalo as a pastoral associate later in her ministry. She retired in 1996.
During her retirement, she remained active at Timon Towers in Buffalo, volunteering to distribute Communion to her fellow residents, assist with bookkeeping and participate in the Christmas Wheat Project.
A funeral Mass was held in Blessed Sacrament Church in Buffalo, with burial in Holy Cross Cemetery in Lackawanna.