Sister Bernadette Kline, SDS embraced all ministries “heart first”

Sister Bernadette Kline, SDS had a heart on fire for the missions of the Sister of the Divine Savior, and embraced every call to serve with high energy. She died on Saturday, September 23 at the age of 93.

After years dedicated to teaching in Wisconsin parochial schools, Sr. Bernadette and Sister Mary Ruth Dittman, SDS opened St. Joseph Mission School in Huntsville, Ala. in 1956.  A year later, Sister Bernadette said yes to minister in East Africa where she taught domestic science. Missionary assignments followed in England, at an orphanage in Nazareth, Israel, and in Rome, Italy, where she prepared Salvatorian novices to serve in their native countries.  Sr. Bernadette later returned to Africa to teach domestic science to girls in the secondary school in Masasi, Tanzania.

Upon her return to the U.S., Sr. Bernadette taught at several Catholic high schools until 1980.  One summer, she completed nurse’s aid training at Divine Savior Nursing Home in Portage, Wis. For several summers thereafter, she ministered as a certified nurse’s aide.


After earning her master’s degree in theology in 1982, and training six months in clinical pastoral education, Sr. Bernadette served as a pastoral minister in several Wisconsin and Illinois parishes. Embracing her new ministry, Sr. Bernadette considered it a great privilege to direct the Rite of Christian Initiation (RCIA) program, preparing adults to receive the Sacraments and become members of the Catholic Church.

Even after retiring from active ministry, Sr. Bernadette volunteered in hospice care, held Scripture study sessions at Milwaukee’s Mother of Good Counsel Parish, and traveled across the U.S., speaking to parish communities about Salvatorian international missions.

Visitation for Sr. Bernadette will begin at noon on Thursday, September 27 at St. Anne’s Salvatorian Campus chapel, 3800 N. 92nd St., Milwaukee. Mass of Christian Burial will follow a remembering service that begins at 12:45 p.m.  Burial at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, September 28 will take place at Holy Cross Cemetery in Milwaukee.

Memorial contributions to the Sisters of the Divine Savior area appreciated.

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