Sister Shirley Kitagawa of the Sisters of the Cenacle died May 17, 2006, at the Cenacle in Ronkonkoma, N.Y.
She was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, in 1934. When she was 8 years old, her family was uprooted with other Japanese Canadians due to the circumstances of World War II. They were finally settled in Toronto.
At some point during that experience, her mother converted to Catholicism. Sister Kitagawa followed with her own conversion in 1951 when she was 17. She became a teacher and, on the advice of her godmother, became acquainted with the sisters at the Toronto Cenacle. She entered the Cenacle in 1962 and professed final vows in 1970.
Using her love of music and dance and, in later years, drawing upon her experience as a cancer patient, Sister Kitagawa became well-known for her retreat and support-group ministry. Among her other assignments, she served at the Cenacle in Rochester where she was superior of the local community from 1978-84.
Her funeral liturgy was celebrated at the Ronkonkoma Cenacle on May 20, 2006, followed by burial in the Cenacle cemetery.