2006-01-13 / Columnists

Chatting with Chapey

by Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey, Democratic District Leader

Dr. Geraldine Chapey
Dr. Geraldine Chapey

Sister Patricia Walsh Celebrates 50 Years

Congratulations to Sister Patricia Walsh on her 50th Anniversary as a member of the Sisters of Saint Joseph from Brentwood, Long Island. Sister Pat radiates warmth, caring and concern combined with professional expertise, experience and knowledge. Sister Pat is currently the Director of the Parish Ministry outreach to the elderly and homebound at St. Frances de Sales Parish. Her ministry is of crucial importance because according to the census, our area has one of the highest concentrations of seniors in the country. The longevity revolution is reshaping our community, state and country. Sister Patricia is the right person in the right place at the right time. She cares passionately about helping our seniors. She brings all of the resources at her disposal to enhancing their well-being.

Sister Patricia celebrated her 50th Anniversary with a Mass at St. Frances de Sales. Monsignor Martin Geraghty was the main celebrant. He concelebrated the Mass with Father Lou and Father Galido. Monsignor Geraghty’s homily highlighted the importance of Sister Pat’s ministry, and praised Sister Patricia’s life of outstanding service, sincere dedication and loyal devotion. The church services were magnificently enhanced by the music of her nephew, Michael, and his family from Richmond, Virginia. They are an integral part of the music ministry in their own parish in Virginia. Everyone was delighted that they were able to share their musical talents with us. It added a beautiful and prayerful dimension to the Church services.

Relatives and friends from Virginia, Georgia, Vermont, New Jersey and New York joined the celebration. The church services were followed by a lively luncheon at the Beach Club. The owners of the Beach Club, the Good brothers, serve delicious meals and are attentive to every detail.

Sister Patricia’s life as a Sister of Saint Joseph “connects to others on a spiritual journey.” (This is the commitment of the Sisters of St. Joseph) Sister began her connection to others through teaching, and believes that teachers are catalysts for positive change. She approached teaching with a sense of passion, enthusiasm and commitment. Sister Patricia has touched the lives of children spiritually, intellectually, emotionally and socially, and has allowed each child in her class to grow and develop. Sister Patricia taught the fourth grade at St. Frances de Sales, and taught the seventh and eighth grades at Saint Benedict Joseph. She also taught in Transfiguration Parish, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish and Saint Martin of Tours Parish. Sister Patricia brought to the classroom a love of people, her enthusiasm for life, and her passion for teaching and learning. She built connections and relationships with her students. She engaged her students in explorations of reading, math, science, art and music. Sister Patricia is committed to making a difference and she did in the lives of her students and their families. As Ira Shull noted in his book, For the Love of Teaching, “By listening to the voices of those who teach us, we come to understand not only what learning means but what living means. For it is through our teachers that we begin to discover who we are as human beings and what we want to be as a society.”

In 2006, the Sisters of Saint Joseph are celebrating a Year of Jubilee. They are celebrating 150 years of Love and Service in the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens. According to their web site, “They have served the people of Long Island from the docks of Red Hook in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty to Long Island’s eastern shore. When the needs of people beckoned they sent sisters to Appalachia, other parts of the United States, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Brazil. Originally primarily educators and nurses, sisters are now theologians, authors, social workers and therapists, spiritual directors, administrators, canon and civil lawyers, pastoral ministers, liturgists, computer technicians and medical doctors. They continue to respond to the needs of the times and actively promote the love of God and the ‘dear neighbor.’ The goal of the Sisters of Saint Joseph continues to be to foster love, unity and reconciliation among all people with this blessed earth. The Sisters of Saint Joseph live and work to bring all into unity with God and one another.”

Sister Patricia Walsh is a charismatic, astute, capable, focused and knowledgeable professional, who has influenced, enriched and motivated many people. My mother, my sister and I have all attained doctoral degrees. We owe the Sisters of Saint Joseph a big debt of gratitude for providing each of us with a well-rounded foundation in education, which sparked our interest in continuing to pursue our intellectual endeavors. Best wishes for continued success to Sister Patricia.

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