Home » Obituaries » Remembrance of the Life of Sister Delores (formerly Sister Mary Laurian) Kincaide SL

Remembrance of the Life of Sister Delores (formerly Sister Mary Laurian) Kincaide SL

Posted on July 30, 2023, by Eleanor Craig SL

Sister Delores (formerly Sister Mary Laurian) Kincaide SL
Dec. 29, 1929 – July 30, 2023

Loretto Sister Delores Kincaide, formerly known as Sister Mary Laurian, died July 30 at the Loretto Living Center at the Loretto Motherhouse in Nerinx, Ky. Dori was 93 years old and was just completing the 74th year of her religious commitment.

Preface: As many of you can also say, Delores Kincaide was a very close friend of mine. She was a friend with whom I had a complicated relationship of mutual support and admiration, combined with such differences in personality that we often rubbed against each other. Delores was far more able than I to absorb the differences and take with good humor the awkward times between us. She laughed at my stiffness, which drove me wild. She also loved and encouraged me, as she did so many of you.  It’s a privilege to present this remembrance of Delores, parts of which she wrote herself.

Delores Evelyn Kincaide was born on Dec.  29, 1929, in Detroit. Her mother, Mary Louise Mason, known as Mae, and her father George Gino Kincaide welcomed Dorie as their ninth child in a family already struck three times by tragedy. Two boys had not survived childbirth and Dorie’s sister Evelyn, Ethel’s twin, was burned to death as a toddler. Another brother died in Dorie’s childhood.

Delores described her early years in this way: “My childhood was a happy one though it was one of struggling with poverty. As the youngest child born during the Depression I grew up in austere times. My father died when I was 12 and mother worked as a cleaning lady to put me through school. … Just a few weeks before my 18th birthday, I was baptized a Catholic. Two years later I entered (religious life.)”

Dorie frequently talked about the excellent education she got in the Detroit public schools, especially in high school.  Believing she would go directly to work after high school, Dorie followed the commercial course of study, but she loved the academic subjects the best.  She wrote about the challenging teachers she had.

A picture of Delores as an older teen at the time she converted to Catholicism comes from her pastor and mentor, Father Thomas Newman of St. Rita Parish. He wrote a letter recommending Delores for acceptance by the Sisters of Loretto: “Miss Kincaide became a Catholic in December 1947, after a very thorough course of instructions. Previously she was very active in the Presbyterian Church, conducting information classes and Sunday school. It was through her sister, Ruth Kincaide Collins, that the Catholic influence started and persevered. Mrs. Collins’ daughter, Neoma, who is about the same age as Miss Kincaide, also had much to do with the conversion of Miss Kincaide.  Neoma has been in the Monastery of the Visitation, Toledo, Ohio, for over two years. … Miss Kincaide is very intent upon entering the religious life.  I … recommend her highly.”

Because Dorie was a new convert her admission to Loretto was delayed for two years, during which time she worked as a clerk in an office.  While waiting to enter, Dorie and her mother accompanied Josephine Miklich to Loretto when she entered, giving Mae an opportunity to see where Delores would be. It was the first time Dorie or her mother had met Sisters of Loretto; they were both charmed and much relieved.  Delores arrived for good in February 1950 and was received Aug. 15, 1950, with the name Sister Mary Laurian.

There followed 20 years of the expected string of assignments to Loretto schools for Sister Laurian: St. Ann in North St. Louis, where she taught grade school; then Loretto Academy in El Paso where she became a high school teacher; St. Agnes High School in Springfield, Mo., as both superior and principal; one year at Montgomery Catholic High, and finally four years at Loretto in Kansas City.  Toward the end of these years in Loretto schools Sister Laurian had become Sister Delores Kincaide.

From Dorie’s early teens, when her father died, she had been very close to her mother. She sometimes said they were more best friends than mother and daughter. As the last child at home Dorie felt a keen responsibility, a sense that only deepened as her mother aged and moved to the Little Sisters of the Poor.  In 1973 Delores left Kansas City for Detroit, settling into a household of sisters from several different orders, including Sister of Loretto Kit Concannon. Several short-lived positions soon led to the work that Dorie would do for the next 20 years.  She tells us about it herself:

“My return to Detroit around 1973 meant a great deal to me. I was here for the last year of my mother’s life; and that was very important to me and to her too, I think. … Since my return to Detroit, I have the thrill of living in my old childhood neighborhood. I have turned to working with the mentally retarded by acting as program coordinator at Trombly Home, a women’s adult foster care home. It is most gratifying. I love my work.”

Delores believed deeply that the work she was created for was to assist people with developmental delays. When she retired from the Trombly Home in 1991, she became a staff member at the sheltered workshop where several of the women worked and some of her former staff were employed. By the mid-1990s, however, Dorie felt pulled to live again in Loretto’s midst.

Delores moved back to Kansas City, Mo., at the request of the local Loretto members, who asked her to discover the issues and organizations that most needed their group efforts. From 1995 until 2003 Dorie immersed herself and urged others to join her in various peace and justice groups, including Peace Works. Delores planned or participated in numerous peace events — demonstrations, conferences, seminars and speeches.  She traveled with many Loretto members to the School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Ga., even traveled to The Hague on a peace mission. 

Summers often found Dorie and friends on working visits to New Mexico, In 2005 she fully “retired” to Jemez Springs, N.M., where she supported the mission activities of the local Loretto Community and set up a library of spiritual books and materials for local use. In her mid-80s, Delores moved to Loretto Motherhouse, continuing as long as possible organizing art supplies, working on the convent library and instigating a bloody card game called “Spite ‘n Malice.“ In Dorie’s final years as a resident of the Loretto Life Center, she graced every visitor with the biggest of her smiles and a welcome in her eyes.

A brief reflection that Dorie wrote some time ago hints at the wisdom with which she lived: “Loretto means more to me and is more the place where I work out my spiritual journey than is the institutional church. … I think the church has much to offer and needs to exist in order to give ‘body’ to a way of serving the world…[but] More and more I am aware that churches and institutions are not always the best places to find God or to serve God. Each of us, in our myriad life experiences, must sooner or later stand on our own two feet and declare ‘this is what I have experienced and this is what I believe God wants me to do with those experiences.’”

Please keep Dorie, her family and all who loved her in your prayers. May she rest in peace.


Eleanor Craig SL

Eleanor has been a Sister of Loretto since 1963 and an educator since birth. She graduated from two of Loretto's best known St. Louis institutions, Nerinx Hall High School in 1960, and Webster University in 1967. She taught mathematics at Loretto in Kansas City, where her personal passion for adventure history inspired her to develop and lead treks along the historic Oregon Trail. From 1998 to 2010 she created an award-winning program of outdoor adventure along the Western trails for teens who are visually impaired. Eleanor claims to have conducted more wagon trains to the West than the Mountain Men! From 2012 to 2021, Eleanor led a talented staff of archivists and preservationists at the Loretto Heritage Center on the grounds of the Motherhouse. She recently retired, but still serves in the Heritage Center as Loretto Community Historian.

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