Sr Catherine Prendergast, OP

July 18, 1934 ~ January 26, 2024 (age 89) 89 Years Old

Sr Catherine Prendergast, OP Obituary

Sister Catherine Prendergast (Mary Benedict) died peacefully at St. Joseph Residence, West Seattle on January 26, 2024. She was born on July 18, 1934, in Clonmel, County Tipperary, Ireland, to William and Mary (Galvin) Prendergast. She had 2 brothers and 2 sisters.

In her 4th year of high school, she met an enthusiastic Dominican Sister from Tacoma who spoke of the needs for sisters to provide Catholic education for children. This led Sr. Catherine to enter St. Agnes Postulate in Crosshaven, Co. Cork on November 13, 1951. On March 13, 1952, she and five companions set sail for New York, the first leg of their journey to Mount St. Dominic Novitiate in Tacoma. After receiving the habit and the name Sister Mary Benedict, she made profession of vows in 1954.

Sister Catherine had a long history of ministry in Washington and in California. Her years of teaching were primarily in Bellingham, Seattle, and California. For 10 years she was a beloved teacher at Holy Rosary High School. Also, for 5 years she served as co-principal at Garces Memorial High School in Bakersfield, CA.

She served on the Congregation’s Leadership Team from 1969-1975 as a team members and as president from 1979-1983. In the fall of 1983, she began a sabbatical which took her to El Paso for Conversational Spanish followed by time at St. Mary’s University, San Antonio for theology studies.

Returning from Texas, she began a long-term ministry at Holy Spirit, Kent where she shared her gifts of community building and preparing liturgical ministers. She was also part of the parish adult education team.

In 1993, Sr. Catherine began serving at St. Ann’s Parish in Tacoma as a pastoral associate where she was responsible for RCIA coordination among several parishes. This involvement with culturally diverse faith communities remained an unforgettable experience for her.

She retired from active ministry in 2004 but volunteer ministry called her to continue serving the people of God. She tutored students in literacy at Tacoma Community House, and then became a tireless worker against Human Trafficking. Her ministry of promoting justice-making through educational outreach and advocacy was an integral part of Sr. Catherine’s life until the end.

This year she would have celebrated 70 years of profession. She will always be remembered for her dedication of ministry and her community, and her sense of hospitality, compassion and sense of humor. 

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Funeral Mass
February 22, 2024

11:00 AM
St. Joseph Residence (Seattle)

February 26, 2024

1:00 PM
Calvary Cemetery


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