Sister Patricia Elizabeth O’Keefe, CSJ
We come together to celebrate and give thanks to our gracious God for the joyous and memorable life of Sister Patricia O’Keefe, formerly Sister Mary Callista, a Sister of St. Joseph for 69 faith-filled years.
Anyone who knew Pat was keenly aware of her deep love for her family. Her parents, Thomas and Nora, natives of Newfoundland, founds their home in Brooklyn with Holy Name Parish as a vital part of the O’Keefe life, nurtured their three daughters with values of a lively faith, a strong work ethic, and hospitality, and the importance of celebrating life’s milestones big and small, And of course there was always pride and celebration of their Irish heritage.
After graduating from Bishop McDonnell, Pat joined our community with great Zealand openness to serve God in whatever path unfolded.over the course of 15 years, Pat served as teacher of elementary school children in St. Clare’s, Our Lady of Perpetual Help and St, Ambrose. She loved children and found excitement and fulfillment in developing meaningful relationships with families and the parish faith communities.
While living in St. Ambrose Pat found a depth of community living and neighborhood outreach that transformed her vision- God’s face was clearly in the poor and the marginalized she met on the streets of Bedford-Stuyvesant. She strongly believed that education was their pathway to a promising future- one that included a deeper sense of the holy and the God who loved them beyond measure.
Pat went on to gain a Masters Degree in religious education from Fordham and devoted the rest of her life to the education of high school students at St. Angela Hall and The Mary Louis Academy.
Sister Helen Kearney, our former president, wrote a letter to Pat on her retirement from a long and rich ministry at Mary Louis that spanned 32 years. It captures the spirit and essence of Pat’s ministerial life.
“The community offers great gratitude for you sharing of your gifts as teacher, chairperson, formation and religious activities coordinator. Each role has demanded time, innovative thinking, collaboration, and hard work. You have given our CSJ mission a joyous and faith filled face.”
Yes. Pat lit up a room with her love of life, her reflective questions, her intriguing manner, her quack wit, and a sense of the sacred. As she said- she was never called a wallflower but she did love the title “Queen of Ritual”.
Pat requested Sister Pat Lynch to give a reflection, I welcome Pat.
Sister Tesa Fitzgerald.
Sister Patricia Elizabeth O’Keefe, CSJ, the former Sister Mary Callista, died on June 21, 2023 in the 69th year of her religious life.