Maureen Kane’s life has always been about serving others, especially the youth and those in need, and transforming countless lives in the classroom and the community, including many here in central Florida.
“It has been part of my life since I was a child,” Kane said. “My parents had me and my siblings doing everything all the time. Our lives revolved around our parish and our school.”
Kane retired from Bishop Moore Catholic High School in June after 12 years, first as principal and then president. Her service and dedication to transforming lives will be honored with the Lifetime Legacy Award by Bishop Grady Villas during the 10th annual Harvest Ball on Oct. 12 at the Rosen Plaza Hotel, Orlando. Bishop Moore Catholic High
School will receive the Community Service Award. Over the last 10 years, Bishop Moore students have donated an estimated 1,800 hours of service to Bishop Grady Villas.
The lifetime dedication to service was instilled in Kane at a young age. The first of 10 children to faithful Catholic parents, Kane was born in Chicago and educated by sisters from two religious communities – the Sisters of St. Joseph and the Sisters of Mercy. As a child, she assisted her parents with service at her local parish. As a teenager, she volunteered to serve the poor and the elderly.
Those formative years set Kane on a path to religious life, as a Sister of St. Joseph Carondelet, St. Louis Province and the path to becoming a teacher. She eventually left religious life but continued to serve as an educator and administrator.
Kane moved to central Florida in 1996, in part to be closer to family members, including her father. She became principal of Holy Redeemer Catholic School, Kissimmee, and in 2011 she accepted the principal position at Bishop Moore Catholic School, upon the request of Bishop Norbert Dorsey, O.P.
At Bishop Moore, she enjoyed observing and participating in student life. She watched the students grow from young teens to young adults, ready to further their education or career path upon graduation.
“I loved the students,” Kane said. “There’s this beautiful transformation that I observed. I had children at Bishop Moore that I taught when they were 4 at Holy Redeemer and I watched them come to Bishop Moore, go through high school, and blossom.”
She was particularly enthusiastic about forming students in their faith and teaching them the importance of service. While students are required to meet a certain number of service hours annually, many of them exceeded those hours at Kane’s encouragement.
Kane also said she was happy “to help enhance the Catholicity” of Bishop Moore when she arrived as principal in 2001.
“This is your whole vocation, to assist in their education and also in their faith formation, which is extremely important,” Kane said. “And that was also beautiful to see.
“We’ve been able to rejuvenate the spiritual life of the school, to witness to that spiritual life, to incorporate that into every aspect of our students’ day,” Kane said. “I think that was extremely important.”
Kane also encouraged her students to participate in a number of service projects. She said one of the most special events and volunteer opportunities came last year, with the Million Meal Challenge, cosponsored by the Diocese of Orlando and Catholic Relief Services. More than 800 people, from students and parents to faculty members, from Bishop Moore took part in the challenge.
“That just culminated all of the work that they’ve done and all the things that I’ve seen, so I was very excited about that,” Kane said. “And I know that they’ll carry that through. A lot of them are engaged in outreach and service, way beyond what is required of them.”
Kane also encouraged many students to serve the residents of Bishop Grady Villas in St. Cloud, and take leadership roles in the Villas’ annual fundraising event, the Harvest Ball.
“We got some students excited about it, got them involved with it,” Kane said. “I’ve had some students who have come all four years. And they thoroughly enjoy it. We’ve felt good about what we were able to do for the Villas and the residents, making not only one night exciting for them but helping them throughout the year as well.”
Kane’s dedication and service to Bishop Grady Villas began in 2004, the same year the residential community opened its doors to their first two residents. In many ways she offered assistance to develop this special place in support of persons with disabilities who use their God-given gifts to achieve greater independence, physical and emotional well-being, and spiritual growth.
Throughout the years, she became more personally involved and eventually became a member of Bishop Grady Villas’ Board of Trustees; she currently serves as vice president. She also serves as a member of the Admission Committee.
“I have had the opportunity to meet many of the residents as they are coming in, interviewing them and their families and caregivers,” Kane said. “I have seen what was happening at the Villas and how it has grown and developed and what a wonderful place it has become, a great environment for all of these adults.”
Maureen Kane will be honored by Bishop Grady Villas with the Lifetime Legacy Award during the 10th annual Harvest Ball on Oct. 12 at Rosen Plaza Hotel, Orlando. Bishop Moore Catholic High School will receive the Community Service Award.
For more information go to www.bishopgradyvillas.org.