Dolores Greenwell, SCN, 97, (formerly Sister John William) was born in Nelson County, Ky., on Aug. 27, 1925. She died Sept. 2, 2022, in Nazareth, Ky. She was a professed Sister of Charity of Nazareth for 77 years.
Sister Dolores earned her nursing degree from Spalding College in Louisville with a minor in psychology. In the 1950’s she served as a psychiatric nurse at Our Lady of the Oaks Hospital in Lexington, Ky., and at Our Lady of Peace Hospital in Louisville, Ky.
Over the years, she served as a nursing supervisor for several institutions: St. Joseph Infirmary, Louisville; Georgetown University Hospital, Washington DC; St. Vincent Infirmary, Little Rock, Ark.; Holy Family Hospital, Ensley, Ala.; and Flaget Memorial Hospital in Bardstown. Her nursing skills led her to become a surgery supervisor at Marymount Hospital in London, Ky.
After Vatican II, new awakenings came to Sister John William, who changed to her baptismal name Dolores. In 1971, she asked and received approval for a 9-month sabbatical at Madonna House in Combermere, Ontario. There she had spiritual direction and time and place for prayer, which reinforced Dolores’ vocation call to live her life “for the sake of the Kingdom.” She then served children at St. Thomas-St. Vincent Home in Anchorage, Ky., and the migrant community at the Health Center in Ruskin, Fla. Sister Dolores continued to devote her life to health care ministries as a hospice nurse in Paintsville, Ky., and at the Floyd Co. Health Dept. in Prestonburg, Ky. From 1997-1999 she worked at the Nelson County Courthouse in social services.
Sister Dolores served her SCN Community in many ways: as a staff nurse at the Motherhouse, as a volunteer with the SCN Mission Office, and as an assistant sacristan for St. Vincent Church. Upon retirement, she worked in the Thrift Shop at Nazareth and provided hospitality at Russell Hall on Nazareth Campus.
She is survived by her sisters Lavon Cecil and Charlotte Ann Hall and by her brother Albert C. Greenwell. She is also survived by her extended family and her religious community, the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth.
Her family wishes to express their heartfelt gratitude for the loving care she received from the staff and the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth at Nazareth and Nazareth Home.
For more on Sister Dolores, you can visit: https://nazareth.org/sister_dolores/
Sister Dolores Greenwell’s Funeral Mass was Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022, in Saint Vincent de Paul Church with burial in Nazareth Cemetery. Funeral Arrangements were handled by Houghlin Greenwell Funeral Home in Bardstown. Memorials may be offered to the Office of Mission Advancement, P.O. Box 9, Nazareth, Kentucky., 40048.
A slideshow and video of the Mass can be viewed below:
Sister Dolores Greenwell was a true daughter of the Kentucky Holy Land. She is a descendant of pioneer Catholic families who migrated from Maryland to Nelson County, KY. The early pioneers had a unique Kentucky spirit that lived on through Sr. Dolores’ devout life as a Sister of Charity of Nazareth. With a kind and contemplative heart, Sr. Dolores served others for 77 years as a SCN.
Sr. Dolores and I were brought together at Nazareth by two chance encounters, and our love of nature, adventure, and curiosity. The chance encounters were undoubtedly acts of providence. A slight modification of the poem by George Webster Douglas’ says it best. “What made us friends, In the long ago?. When we first met? Well, I think I know. The love of nature and adventure in you and me, Hailed each other because we could see, That always and ever since time began, Our being friends was part of Gods’ plan.”
Her love of God and the beauty of nature is reflected in the lyrics of How Great Thou Art, a hymn she selected for her funeral. I have always thought of Sr. Dolores when I hear the verse ”When thru the woods and forest glades I wander And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees, When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur, And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze. Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee; How great Thou art, how great Thou art!”
Sister Dolores’ love for her entire family was immeasurable. She came from a close-knit family of eleven children. Those children, and their extended families, continue to show extraordinary love and care for one another. Her adoring family, along with SCN Sisters and friends, accompanied Sr. Dolores to her final resting place in the hallowed grounds of Nazareth.
A true daughter of the Kentucky Holy Land, Sister Dolores had an indomitable Kentucky spirit. When we would drive by her homeplace, Sr. Dolores would point out homes of childhood friends and say “She has gone to God.” I knew that someday, my friend and soulmate Sr. Dolores would also go to God. That time came before dawn on an early September morning. When I drive our familiar curvy country roads, her passing seems even more profound. I miss her more than words could ever say.
You have been our.praying sister for Banakal mission for many years . As you enjoy your eternal reward pls .continue to intercede for all of us. I thank you personally for your love,care and thoughtfulness. Miss you much!