Sr. Kathleen helps the victims of tornadoes.

By Sue Brown, Coworker

Sr. Kathleen tornado debrisTornado debrisTornado debris

March 2, 2012 will not soon be forgotten by the residents of eastern Kentucky. The deadly tornadoes will go down in the record books as one of the worst, if not the worst, March tornado events on record. Our Sister Kathleen Mulchrone is missioned in Menifee County where officials reported two people died and nearby Morgan County confirmed seven deaths. I had an opportunity to visit the devastated areas and speak with Sister Kathleen shortly after the storm.

Here’s a brief review of what she shared.

“The storms were predicted for Friday; we knew they would be severe. News reports came over the radio announcing that local schools would close early since they were afraid of damage and wanted to be prepared. My niece called to check on me since she was hearing the reports not far from me in Lawrenceburg. We discussed storm preparedness and having our supplies ready.

Moments later, she told me to get in a closet - the storms were over my area.

The hail was awful: the size of golf balls hitting my house. The ground was covered. So then it was dark outside for awhile. The sky then cleared up and it was beautiful and sunny.

I heard on the radio that a tornado had struck the community of West Liberty only a few miles from my home. At this time the power went out and I began lighting candles. I stepped outside to check on my neighbors. It was a very scary feeling, seeing the damage to the trees and debris blown around. Thankfully there was no damage to my house or the homes of my neighbors. I went back inside, lit a small candle, and prayed four decades of the rosary...shook a few drops of holy water and the storm was over.

The next morning I went out to assess the damage. I went to a local school where emergency shelters were being set up and asked what I could do to help.

Within an hour, the town was full of people wanting to help. I was told the greatest need was food, so I went to purchase food and loaded my car.

The needy were all helping – the poor were helping each other. It was an amazing sight to see such love and concern. I was actually approached by a couple at the grocery store who saw that I was gathering supplies; they gave me $20 to help purchase food. I knew this family; they live on a very modest income. I was so grateful for their generosity.”

The small town of West Liberty will never be the same. The main road is gone. Officials estimate it will take 8-10 years to rebuild the town. I pray that the Lord continues to provide comfort and mercy to all those who have been touched by recent tornadoes. As a Christian it was encouraging to see so many individuals reaching out to help those in need. Sister Kathleen is a gentle reminder of Christ’s love through her compassionate ministry of presence to those living in the rural south and Appalachia.