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Sister Mary Kenneth Lewis

June 15, 1924 - May 20, 2023

Burial Date May 30, 2023

A funeral Mass will be celebrated for Mary Ken at 8 a.m. May 30, with her wake at 4:30 p.m. May 29, both at Loretto Motherhouse. The Rev. Martin (Marty) Lally will be the celebrant. He is longtime priest of the Denver Archdiocese who was once taught by Sister Mary Ken. Burial will be in Our Lady of Sorrows Cemetery on the Motherhouse grounds.

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Loretto Sister Mary Kenneth Lewis died May 20 at Loretto Living Center, Loretto Motherhouse. She was 98 and had just celebrated her 80th jubilee as a Sister of Loretto. Denver native and longtime religious education director, Sister Mary Ken served for more than 35 years in the Denver Archdiocese in addition to serving in other parts of Colorado, and in Illinois, New Mexico, Nebraska and Wyoming. Sister Mary Ken was born Shirley Ann Lewis June 15, 1924, in Denver to Ella Katherine (Winans) and Kenneth Kyle Lewis. She was received into the Sisters of Loretto at the Foot of the Cross on April 25, 1943. Sister Mary Ken earned a bachelor’s degree in English, with minors in social studies and education, in 1956 from Loretto Heights College, Denver. She received a master’s in English in 1963 from Marquette University, Milwaukee, and a master’s in religious education in 1975 from Seattle (Wash.) University. Sister Mary Ken taught in Denver at St. John School (1964-1965) and Holy Family High School (1965-1970). She was director of religious education at St. Augustine Parish in Brighton (1970-1975) and served as archdiocesan director of religious education for 28 parishes in the northern area of the Archdiocese of Denver (1975-1979). She also oversaw adult religious education at Sacred Heart of Mary Parish in Boulder (1979-1987). In 1993, Sister Mary Ken founded the Loretto Spirituality Center at the Loretto Center in Littleton and served as its first director until 2006, when she retired. Elsewhere, she served in the Colorado Springs Diocese, where she taught and was a parish pastoral associate. Sister Mary Ken also taught in Illinois, New Mexico and Wyoming. She coordinated migrant ministry in Nebraska and Colorado for many summers and directed newly professed sisters in this ministry. In 2012, Sister Mary Ken oversaw the compilation of the Loretto Prayer Book, contributing five of her own favorites, in honor of the Sisters of Loretto’s 200th anniversary that year. Said Sister Mary Ken of her years of service, “I loved everything I did. I really enjoyed the work.” She moved in 2012 to Loretto Motherhouse, carrying out a ministry of prayer and presence until her death. Preceding her in death were her parents and her siblings, Charlotte Elkins, Kenneth Lewis Jr. and Mary Ellen Lewis. She is survived by nine nieces and nephews. Memorials may be made to the Sisters of Loretto for our mission, c/o Loretto Motherhouse, 515 Nerinx Road, Nerinx, KY 40049 or as an online gift at www.lorettocommunity.org. # # #