The Sister/Associate relationship was established in 1972 so that individuals – lay women and men – could partner with the Sisters in responding to the Gospel in the spirit of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. Close to 200 Associates reside throughout the US; in 2014 we will take the opportunity to get to know a few of them.
The Call to Consecrated Life: Associate Kinny McQuade
Kinny McQuade will tell you he has never been far from communities of Sisters. His older brother was a Jesuit, so he learned as a young man to admire the nuns as very special servants of God. He and his wife attend Bellarmine Chapel, where they met Sisters from different communities, including the Sisters of Charity. He and S. Paula Mary Russell have been long-time friends. It was S. Paula who invited him into the Associate program and was his companion through the preparation process. He had served on the Board of Bayley for seven years previous to becoming an Associate.
When he came to Cincinnati, from New York, Kinny felt called to find his niche in volunteering. He was giving his time to the Art Museum when a friend told him about this place, Ronald McDonald House, a home away from home for families who have a critically ill child at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. He goes there five days a week, sits in the kitchen and just talks to parents. He is one of hundreds of volunteers who assist at Ronald McDonald House. Each night RMH takes care of every need that arises for the 78 families in residence. Last year RMH welcomed 1,500 families into their facility, each with a different story … but yet not so different. All have a critically ill child with an uncertain future.
Kinny tells a quick, but poignant, story that occurred recently. Parents of conjoined twins approached him, fearful of the next day’s procedure to separate the two girls joined only at the liver. They explained to him that they were agnostics, yet felt a need to do something more for their girls … They felt the need to pray, but didn’t know how. Kinny spoke to them soothingly and with great compassion. He took their hands in his and gently led them in prayer.
Elise Hyder, director of volunteers/Ronald McDonald House Charities, would like you to know the Kinny she knows.
Kinny leads his life with a servant’s heart. For the past 27 years he has dedicated his life to taking care of the critically ill children and their families at Cincinnati’s RMH. He has worn many hats with us, from serving on our board and as our board chair, to more recently serving as one of our 400 Guest Services volunteers. Kinny has a gift for connecting with and listening to our families. Our families come from all over the region, country, and the world, and are faced with such stressful and challenging situations. They are far away from home and from their support network. Kinny’s loving heart offers hope and compassion when families need it most.His life-long commitment to our mission and to serving others is inspiring to me, to our staff and to our volunteers, especially considering his current battle with cancer. When I and others remark about how we are all amazed by him and his positive attitude, he shrugs his shoulders and says his illness is nothing compared to what our brave children and families are up against.
Ronald McDonald House volunteers look up to Kinny, so much so that they voted him as our 2014 “Heart of the House” winner, our annual volunteer peer award. This incredible recognition is given to someone who best represents our following core values: helpful, encouraging, attentive, respectful and thankful. One volunteer commented, “Kinny’s listening skill is vital to providing a beacon of hope to our families. It takes such a special talent to listen. He has such a unique ability to support and encourage, and when needed, he is sympathetic to tragic events when they occur. He has such a heartfelt and caring attitude and I so admire the comfort he provides to families.”
Kinny McQuade certainly has found his call to the consecrated life, making a difference in the lives and hearts of those he touches.