Dominican Sisters of Houston
To Praise To Bless To Preach

Sister Mary Kay Bailey, O.P.

Sister Mary Kay Bailey, O.P.
Sister M. Edwin Bailey, O.P. (RIP + 5/17/2015)
(August 4, 1937 + May 17, 2015)

Sister Mary Kay Bailey was born in Kilgore, Texas. Her parents Leona Gertrude Sessinghaus-Bailey and John Edwin Bailey moved their family from Kilgore to Houston when she was young. She attended St. Mary’s Catholic School and St. Vincent De Paul Catholic School. She attended St. Agnes Academy, graduating in 1955.

Becoming a Dominican Sister was something she was called to. “Becoming a sister is not where I was headed. I was planning on attending medical school in Alabama.” After graduation Sister Mary Kay drove a few friends who were considering entering the convent into Houston to meet with Mother Adeline. During her visit with her friends, Mother asked her why she was not entering. She told Mother Adeline of her plans and Mother replied to her, “If you join us you could teach many people to be doctors.”  That summer Sister Mary Kay became ill and during her recovery she kept thinking about the words of Mother Adeline. Sister Mary Kay entered the convent in the fall of 1955.

Sister Mary Kay’s first teaching position was at St. Peter of the Apostle in Houston, Texas, where she taught the fifth grade. She has spent years in the classroom in LaMarque, Texas, as well at St. Pius X High School, Galveston Dominican High School and O’Connell Junior High School. During this time she enjoyed teaching journalism. She was also interested in theology and after her year at O’Connell she took sabbatical to study theology.

Her study of theology was a turning point for her. She took courses at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio. Sister Mary Kay helped paved the way for other women religious as one of the first women accepted to the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio where she took classes.  She received her Masters in Theology in 1972.

While working on her degree she took the Director of Religious Education position at the Holy Spirit Catholic Church in San Antonio. “I really became interested in adult formation. I served in this role for six years.” Religious education was very exciting for her, especially during this time. “It was a wonderful feeling helping people who had been educated pre-Vatican II to connect with the church and its teachings after the change.”

She spent the following years as parish Pastoral Coordinator at the San Angelo Cathedra and St. Therese Catholic Church in Carlsbad. While in the diocese of San Angelo, Sister Mary Kay served on the leadership team of the Dominican Sisters of Houston from 1998-2004. This was an enjoyable time in her life as well. She was learning Spanish. “This was a challenge I loved. I was able to preach and work with others who needed help. I really enjoyed the connection I had to the people in Carlsbad.

Sister May Kay retired in 2012 and came back to Houston. She currently lives at St. Dominic Villa, where she continues to further her knowledge by continuous reading of theology and liturgy. She feels she connects with the Pillar of Study. “It is nourishment for me.” She continues to enjoy her journey of being a Dominican Sister. It has been a journey, a constant transition, therefore growth.” 

Interview with Sister Mary Kay Bailey, O.P. on January 8, 2014.