|Brazilian theologian Ivone Gebara greeting Kathleen Mirante in 2009|
My friend Kathleen Mirante died yesterday, two days after her 77th birthday. It had been one year and ten months after diagnosis of uterine cancer that had metastasized to her lungs.
Our mutual friend Dawn Waring wrote:
Kathleen has crossed over the threshold of this world... And the world has lost a generous spirit, a bright light, and a strong voice for justice. With gratitude for her life, may we be faithful to her legacy…
Kathleen was born in the Seattle area and attended Catholic schools. She earned a scholarship to the College of Notre Dame in Belmont, California, and after graduation joined the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, partly to repay them for their generosity.
She earned her medical degree in 1971 from the Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania, now a part of Drexel University College of Medicine. It was the first medical school for women in the US, founded in 1850, one year after Elizabeth Blackwell became the first female doctor to graduate from a US medical school.
After 6-7 years, Kathleen left the Sisters of Notre Dame. She celebrated liturgies with various circles of women, including Sacred Emerging and the Women-Church community meeting at Pilgrim Place in Claremont.
Kathleen worked as a cardiologist for Kaiser Permanente Hospitals in Fontana for many years, putting in long days to give her patients the best care.
She was also a political activist, demonstrating against US intervention in Iraq in 2003 as well as many previous causes. She listened to KPFK-FM, an alternative public radio station sponsored by the Pacifica Foundation and dedicated to peace and social justice.
She loved classical music and was very generous in giving financial help to the causes she believed in, including women's education.
Kathleen owned her family home on Whidbey Island north of Seattle and after retirement spent her summers there. She drew sustenance from the beauty of nature and walked by the sea. The music of singer-songwriter Carolyn McDade also sustained her.
After living in Claremont for many years, she built a home close to the beach in Oxnard, CA, and made friends in that community. She is survived by a sister Sharon, a nephew Drew and his family, and a cousin in Vancouver, Washington. Her two Maltese dogs are being cared for by a friend in Oxnard.