- Birth Name: Kathryn
- Current Name: Kay
- Religious Name: Mary Teresa
- Last Name: O'Neil
- Mother's Name: Catherine (Carpenter) O'Neil
- Father's Name: Frank O'Neil
- Hometown: Clark, SD
- Entry Date: August 28, 1958
Clark High School, Clark, SD
1958 - Presentation Junior College, Aberdeen, SD - Associate of Arts Degree in Secretarial Science
1963 - Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI - Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration (Cum laude minus residence requirements)
1966 - Rosary College (Dominican University), River Forest, IL - Master of Arts in Library Science (Beta Phi Mu, Library Science Scholastic Honorary Society)
1973 - Catholic University, Washington, DC - Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology
1987 - Weston School of Theology (Boston College School of Theology), Boston, MA - Master of Theological Studies
After receiving an Associate of Arts degree from Presentation Junior College and a Bachelor’s of Science degree from Marquette University, Sister Kay O’Neil taught business classes at Presentation Junior College and St. Mary’s High School in Dell Rapids, S.D. She then earned a Master of Arts degree in Library Science from Dominican University and served as Head Librarian at Presentation College for four years. She felt called to work with students in campus ministry and went on to earn a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology from Catholic University.
In 1970, she became the first woman chaplain at the ecumenical Campus Religious Center at Southwest State University, Marshall, MN. Sister Kay together with Sister Michelle Meyers developed and taught a variety of courses in Women’s Studies at the state universities of Marshall, Saint Cloud, and Mankato. She along with Sister Michelle and Lois Willette founded the New Ulm Diocesan Task Force in Ministry in 1976. The Sisters were presented with the New Ulm Diocesan Distinguished Service award in 1991. In 1977 Sisters Kay and Michelle began conducting retreats and seminars in many states for numerous colleges and universities, religious groups, health care institutions, businesses, and social service agencies. Sister Kay was also selected as a semi-finalist for the Bush Leadership program in 1985.
After earning a Master of Theological Studies at Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, Sisters Kay and Michelle developed a graduate course, “Women’s Self-Esteem and Spirituality: Making the Connections.” They have team-taught this course for over 25 years at St. Mary’s University in Minneapolis, Minn. In 1993, Sister Michelle and Sister Kay were honored with the St. Mary’s University Outstanding Faculty Award.
In addition to teaching, counseling, conducting retreats, and writing, Sister Kay is a founding member and current Chair for the Sisters’ Social Justice Team. She assumed major responsibility for initiating new Pax Christi chapters in South Dakota and has coordinated ten South Dakota Pax Christi conferences. Sister Kay's primary interests are communication, self-esteem, assertiveness, peacemaking, and spirituality. She chairs the Social Justice Team with related peace and justice prayer/actions.
1963-1964 - Presentation Junior College, Aberdeen, SD - Business
1964-1965 - St. Mary High School, Dell Rapids, SD - Business
1966-1970 - Presentation College, Aberdeen, SD - Librarian
1970-1976 - Southwest State University, Marshall, MN - Chaplain
1977-1985 - Minnesota Extension and Community Education at St. Cloud State University, Southwest State University and Mankato State University - Adjunct Instructor of Women’s Studies/Continuing Education
1977-1985 - Minnesota Adult Education at Hutchinson Technical Institute, Willmar Technical Institute and Mankato Technical Institute - Instructor of Assertiveness Courses
1980-81-82 - Winter Semesters, Luther Northwestern Seminary, St. Paul, MN
1987-Present - St. Mary’s University of Minnesota Graduate Center, Minneapolis, MN - Adjunct Professor, Seminar Instructor, Conference Keynoter, Retreat Director, Counselor