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Remembering Sister Kathleen Burke

Posted July 24, 2018 in Obituaries

Artist and Educator

Sister Kathleen Burke (formerly Sister Ambrose) was a woman of great creativity, an influential teacher and colleague, a deeply spiritual Ursuline, filled with wit and compassion, grace and an entrepreneurial spirit. She touched countless lives, especially during her years at Ursuline College. An avid and keen photographer, her photos of water, and trees and stone capture the beauty of nature and wonders across the world.   

Kathleen died July 24 at David Simpson House of Hospice of the Western Reserve, in a lake-view room filled with flowers and seashells and cards. She was surrounded by the love of her Ursuline Sisters, family, colleagues and many friends.  

Kathleen Mary Burke was born August 2, 1936, the only child of Clarence and Elizabeth (Webster) Burke. She attended St. Philomena School, entering the Ursulines from that parish in 1954, after graduating from Ursuline Academy of the Sacred Heart. She professed final vows in 1960. Sister Kathleen earned a Bachelor of Science in Education from St. John College in 1962, and an MA in Art Education in 1972 in a joint program of Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Institute of Art. She pursued additional studies at the Art Psychotherapy Institute of Cleveland and became a registered Art Therapist in 1981. Sister Kathleen earned her Ph.D. in Art/Art Therapy from the Union Graduate School in 1985.

In 1957 she began her ministry as an elementary teacher. Then Sister Ambrose, she taught second grade at St. Catharine, Christ the King and Cleveland’s Immaculate Conception schools. Assigned to her alma mater, Sacred Heart Academy, in 1969, she taught until the school’s closing in 1972. That same year, Kathleen began teaching art at Ursuline College.

In 1986, Sister Kathleen created a degree program in Art Therapy at Ursuline College, one of the first of its kind in Ohio. Her students can be found across the country, using the healing power of art to bring comfort and peace to those they serve. And owing to Kathleen’s vision and tenacity in initiating it, thousands of people have walked and prayed the Ursuline labyrinth, modeled on one in the cathedral in Chartres, France.

After serving a four-year term in congregational leadership, Kathleen began a new venture, which she called Ursuline ArtSpace. Since its inception, ArtSpace has offered art classes for adults and children, and art therapy outreach programs for L’Arche residents, for women and children in transitional housing and victims of trafficking.

Kathleen is survived by several cousins. She was preceded in death by her parents.

Donations in her name can be made to the Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland.

Funeral Services for Sister Kathleen Burke

Chapel of the Most Holy Trinity

Ursuline Motherhouse, 2600 Lander Road

Wake Service: 3:00 PM Thursday, July 26

Funeral Mass: 7:00 PM Thursday

Burial Service: 1:00 PM Friday, July 27

Interment will follow at All Souls Cemetery, Chardon.