Today we celebrate the life of our sister Patricia Ann Kenny, CSJ, a faithful women who lived a loving and joyful life; 65 of her years as a Sister of St. Joseph. Born in Callicoon, New York through the love of Laurence and Rita Kenney, Pat was the youngest of three children. Her older sister, Mary Eileen, was also a Sister of St. Joseph and her brother Laurence faithfully served the country.
Like a well planned teacher of young students Pat has prepared this liturgy, gathered us to pray and celebrate as she now lives fully in the heart of her loving God.
To meet Pat was to encounter a faithful woman whose good heart was unfailing to her family, community, friends, students, parishioners and neighbors. She saw what needed to be done and tended to things in a quiet and unassuming manner. Pat also knew her limits, graciously letting go and handing things over for another to see to completion.
Life had purpose and pattern for Pat, and she made sure to balance her ministry with other pleasures of life. Although her early years were lived in upstate New York, and many years of ministry and community living were in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, Pat found joy in New York City attending Broadway shows whenever she was able. Even though she experienced some limited vision that hindered her ability to drive, Pat still went; traveling by bus, by train and walking many a mile. A fair amount of those miles were walked on trips with her dear friend Margaret Farley across the pond to Ireland. When your feast day is March 17th you need to take a few trips to Ireland in your lifetime! And so accompanied by her dear friend, Pat did. On one special trip to the old sod, Pat and Margaret had the opportunity to attend liturgy with St. Patrick’s Parishioners at Our Lady of Knock Chapel where they assisted as lectors for the community. Even on vacation, always giving of herself, seeking nothing in return leaving all to admire the integrity in which she lived her life.
Pat knew deeply the love God lavished on us in letting us be called God’s children. For over 50 years she taught her first grade students at Our Lady of Victory, Floral Park, Sacred Heart, North Merrick and St. Patrick, Smithtown to live in the light as she prepared them for who they were to become. I did a little search to see if Pat had a Facebook page and she did not, however if she had she would have had many friends, most of whom would be her former students. When news of Pat’s passing was made known to her students Facebook lit up asking for prayers and sharing fond memories of the gentle, kind woman she was known to be. In the words of her students: S. Patricia was such a sweet person who cared so much about everyone, a lovely woman, she was one of my favorite teachers, she was full of kindness and joy, she loved so many of us. She was my first grade teacher at St. Pats, Smithtown and she gave me so much love until the day I graduated, truly an amazing woman. She was one of a kind. S. Patricia was my first grade teacher and the first introduction to a loving, warm, ever present teacher who made every child feel special. S. Pat was a kind heart and had such a wonderful spirit. She loved the families and children she worked with and taught us so much even into our college years and beyond. Obviously, Pat guided her students to see God as God really is.
Upon retirement Pat continued to volunteer in a variety of ways eventually moving to Our Lady of the Snows to be with her dear friend Margaret and the community of sisters. She continued to volunteer in the school and parish and was a bit closer to New York City and the lights on Broadway.
Our sister Pat has gathered us today to pray and celebrate a life lived simply, prayerfully, courageously and compassionately.
We give thanks for the generosity of her loving, an outpouring of God’s love in human form.
We give thanks for her faithfulness, a mirror to us of God’s constant presence with us.
We give thanks for her laughter and sense of fun and delight in life, the Breath of Life moved freely in her.
We give thanks for the ways Pat nurtured, encouraged, supported, giving hope to so many, truly, God was here among us.
We pray that the Spirit of Life that moved so wonderfully in Pat’s life will find hopeful and generous expression in our lives.
As a grateful community of sisters and in recognition of Pat’s faithful living of the gospel I know place our Constitution in her hands.
Sister Patricia Ann Kenney, CSJ died on April 6, 2021 in her 65th year of religious life.