Sister Patricia Anne Perry. CSJ
We come to celebrate a woman whose life reflected her deep faith in God, Patricia Anne Perry, a Sister of St. Joseph for seventy two years. It is very significant that we can celebrate Pat’s life here in Sacred Heart Chapel as she finally did return to the renovated convent where she lived for thirty-eight years. We are grateful that so many of Pat’s family came to be with us yesterday and today as she is the last of her generation. She now enjoys eternal life with her four brothers and all those she loved
Pat was born to Mildred and Charles in Queens and she attended St. Benedict Joseph Labre elementary school and then the Juniorate. Pat realized that God had begun a good work in her and would carry it through as she followed a call to enter the congregation. She became a teacher and ministered in Holy Name of Mary, Valley Stream, St. Cecilia, St. Robert Bellarmine, Blessed Sacrament and Epiphany. Pat was known to be organized, methodical, and attentive to detail. She used her clerical and accounting skills at St. Cecilia’s and for almost twenty years in our Congregation’s finance office.
Pat’s dignified presence and her attentiveness to anyone in her presence revealed her close relationship with the God who accompanied her all of her life. This included those she knew and strangers who saw God’s presence in her way of intervening for them. A story was told yesterday that Pat intervened when a family of color was not permitted to board a bus in Washington DC in the 1970s and questioned the driver on their behalf. They boarded the bus. This gentle woman could be forceful when needed, especially for the sake of others.
In this Sunday’s gospel Jesus told his disciples to be the salt of the earth, a light to the world. Pat was both to all who knew her. She did what needed to be done but in ways that revealed the God who is love to all. She lived her life so that others could taste and see the goodness of God.
This was so obvious in her last years as Pat graciously and patiently received help and care from attentive professionals, friends and devoted family. Her final journey was long and challenging but Pat kept her gracious demeanor, always expressing gratitude and maintaining her honest opinions and quick wit. During one of my lasts visits with her, Pat was nibbling a grilled cheese sandwich and I commented: “Oh Pat comfort food!” She raised her eyes, looked at me simply stated: “It’s much better with tomato soup.”
We can truly voice the words from St. Paul in today’s reading: We, give thanks to our God every time we think of you – which is constantly, in every prayer we utter – rejoicing….at the way you have continually helped promote the gospel from the very first day.
Sister Patricia Anne Perry, CSJ died on February 4, 2020 in the 72nd year of her religious life.