Sister Kathleen Bahlinger, C.S.J. (formerly Sister Julius), a Sister of St. Joseph for 57 years, passed away unexpectedly in New Orleans on Saturday, July 6, at the age of 75. She was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the youngest daughter of the late Julius Andrew and Mathilda Fabacher Bahlinger. Sister Kathleen is survived by her sister, Barbara Bahlinger, and five brothers, Julius, Marion, Reginald, Harold and Donald Bahlinger, S.J. She was predeceased by two brothers, Vernon and Charles Bahlinger. Sister Kathleen entered the Sisters of St. Joseph in New Orleans in 1956 and professed perpetual vows in 1964. She received a B.A. in 1962 from St. Mary's Dominican College in New Orleans and did further study in liturgy at Loyola University New Orleans and earned an M.A.T.at Tulane University in New Orleans. Sister Kathleen's teaching career began in Catholic secondary education in 1961. She taught at St. Joseph's Academy in New Orleans and Baton Rouge and at Catholic High School Pointe Coupee where she was principal from 1971 to 1974. Sister Kathleen later devoted herself to adult education, first at Hope House in New Orleans in 1980 and then at St. Paul's Adult Learning Center in Baton Rouge from 1983 to 2006. She returned to New Orleans and taught for two years at Frederick Douglass High School and for five years at St. Vincent de Paul Adult Learning Center. Sister Kathleen's commitment to social justice led her to collaborate with the late Sister Lory Schaff, CSJ in founding St. Paul's Adult Learning Center in Baton Rouge, which was modeled on Hope House. In 2003 she was presented the YWCA Racial Justice Award in Baton Rouge in honor of her significant community work. Sister Kathleen was a 1956 graduate of St. Joseph's Academy in Baton Rouge where in 1877 her great-aunt, Josephine Bahlinger, was the first graduate. Visitation will be held Wednesday, July 10th, from 6 to 9 pm at Rabenhorst Funeral Home on Government Street in Baton Rouge. Visitation at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church, 3912 Gus Young Ave., Baton Rouge, on Thursday, July 11, from 9 a.m. until a Mass of Christian Burial to be offered at 10 a.m. Principal celebrant will be Father Donald Bahlinger, S.J. and the eulogy will be given by Sister Helen Prejean, C.S.J. A memorial Mass will be offered in New Orleans at a later date. Memorial donations may be made to "Sister Kathleen's Ministry Fund;" please make checks payable to Sisters of St. Joseph c/o Sister Carolyn Brady, CSJ at 3134 Hundred Oaks Avenue, Baton Rouge, LA 70808.
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Published in The Advocate from July 8 to July 10, 2013