Sister Sharon Ann Walsh sat in a wheelchair near the front of St. Bernadette Catholic Church Tuesday morning and accepted condolences from several mourners who attended the funeral Mass for Sister Jean Stickney, 86, and Sister Kab Kyoung Kim, 48.
Sister Walsh appeared emotional at times during the 90-minute funeral Mass, which occurred nine days after Sister Stickney and Sister Kim, were killed when a car driven by Sister Walsh was hit head on by a pickup truck at 95th Street and Cicero Avenue in Oak Lawn.
Sister Walsh is the Provincial Leader for the American Province of the Little Company of Mary Sisters and the chairman of the board for the Little Company of Mary Hospital and Health Care Centers.
She left Little Company Mary of Hospital, where she was being treated for injuries sustained in the accident, to attend the funeral services. The wake for the sisters was held Monday at the hospital chapel.
Hundreds of people turned out for Tuesday morning’s funeral in Evergreen Park to pay their respects to the two Little Company of Mary Sisters.
“This has been a very difficult week for all of us,” said the Rev. William Sullivan, who concelebrated the Mass with several other priests from the area.
Sullivan recalled tears coming to his eyes when he learned of the fatal accident. “It’s time to grieve.”
But he added that it was appropriate to celebrate the sisters’ entrance into heaven, adding that Sister Stickney and Kim have been welcomed by the nuns who have gone before them into the “Little Company of Mary corner of heaven.”
“Today we grieve (and) we celebrate,” he said.
Sullivan also suggested that the sisters are martyrs because several more people may have been killed in the traffic accident had the pickup truck not hit their car first.
Peg Schneider, chaplain in the hospital’s pastoral care department, praised the sisters as selfless women during her closing remarks.
“We stand in love and remembrance of two good women,” Schneider said.
“Sister Jean, I would say, her name was goodness,” said Schneider, who said she often worked “under the radar” to accomplish her goals.
“She was gentle, loving and respectful,” Schneider said, adding that Sister Stickney was charitable and “saw the good in everybody.”
“We celebrate today a very generous woman with wonderful gifts,” Schneider said.
Schneider said Sister Kab Kyoung Kim, known to many as Sister Anna, was at her best working with children, including those she served in the hospital bereavement program.
“The language she really brought to us was the language of love,” Schneider said.
The sisters were eastbound on 95th Street Oct. 5 in the front of a lane of cars stopped at a red light at Cicero Avenue when a westbound pickup truck hit their car at 4:27 p.m., police said. Both died at the scene.
The driver of the pickup truck, Edward L. Carthans, 81, of Chicago, also died in the 11-car accident.
Police are awaiting toxicology reports on Carthans to help determine what caused him to veer into the opposite lanes of traffic after causing a four-car accident at 95th Street and Keeler Avenue. Witnesses told police that Carthans was initially seen slumped over his steering wheel at 95th Street and Western Avenue, but he refused help and drove away.