Sunday, April 5, 2015

Sister Kathleen Toland

It is with sadness that I post the news of Sister Kathleen Toland's death. Her great-niece notified me of her passing on April 4th. When Susan and I were in Sierra Leone we taught at the Holy Rosary Secondary School and Teacher's Training College in Kenema, and Sister Kathleen (we knew her then as Sister Adrian) was a teacher there as well. From the very beginning we found Sister Kathleen open, friendly, helpful, and enjoyable. She had wonderful stories of her lifelong commitment to the education of young women of Africa first in Nigeria, and then due to the Biafran War, in Sierra Leone. During my years in upcountry Sierra Leone I listened closely to her stories of her experiences in Africa. I was impressed by her profound commitment to seeing that young women in Africa received the very best education possible. I was also impressed by her spirit of egalitarianism and her ability to adjust to pan-African independence. She was proud to be an education leader in our school. Many of her students have her to thank for their later success. For many years after we left Sierra Leone we looked forward to her yearly letter update at Christmas time. She was the very best of teachers, and a wonderfullly holy person in the very best sense of that term. May she rest in Peace.

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