Katherine (Kim) McElaney, who was one of the first women to graduate (in 1976) from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, later returned to her alma mater as a college chaplain. McElaney became the first woman and first layperson to direct the Office of College Chaplains at Holy Cross, where she served for 25 years until her untimely death from cancer on May 3. According to the Boston Globe, many were drawn to Ms. McElaney because she made the campus more welcoming to everyone, including gay and lesbian students and those feminists who found themselves at odds with the Catholic Church. "Her vision for the Catholic Church was profoundly inclusive, ... She showed us what we could offer in lay ministry. What she accomplished is extraordinary."
When the Globe interviewed her in 1992 about her appointment to lead the chaplains' office, McElaney explained: "To refuse ordination to half of the human race is to deny their equality and also to deny their full participation in the life of the church, ... Men and women are fully equal in every sense."
May she rest in peace.