"A College to Crown the Hill" - The Life of Mother Leo Vincent

On April 13th, 1913 a young girl was born to Mary Quinn and Thomas Short in the rolling green hills of County Armagh, Ireland. One of ten children, the little girl was named Kathleen Short. She was the representation of Celtic spirituality, and had a fierce love for learning. Kathleen immigrated to the United States in April of 1929 at the age of sixteen. Within two years she would find herself entering the novitate of the Newburgh Dominicans, where she would eventually don the habit and the name Mary Leo Vincent O.P. Kathleen would go on to be one of the most influential leaders of the congregation.

Sister Leo Vincent's love for learning was the underpinning of her whole life, as she would continually work towards expanding her own knowledge and the knowledge of others. She recieved her BA from Seton Hall, her MA from Catholic University and later be awarded an honorary doctorate from Mount Saint Mary College. She used her education to help others, serving as an elementary school teacher for many years in Jersey City, Mount Vernon, and Newburgh, eventually moving on to high school education. 

In 1959, Sister Leo Vincent was elected Mother General of the Newburgh Dominicans where she would go on to serve two terms totaling 12 years. During her time as Mother General, Leo Vincent would preside over significant changes in the governance of Catholic religious orders due to the Second Vatican Council. As well, she would use her love of education to press the evolution of the small Catholic college at Mount Saint Mary into a four year school in the Hudson Valley. Sister Leo Vincent's time as Mother would prove a turning point for the Dominican Sisters of Newburgh in almost every aspect of life.


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