Sister Joseph Patrice Shea
“I say to you, my dear sisters, that Jesus in the Sacrament of the Eucharist is as tender and as vigilant for us as he was for his apostles.” (Saint Mother Theodore Guerin)
“Send your hearts a thousand times a day to our Lord really and truly present in the Holy Sacrament of the Altar.” (Saint Mother Theodore Guerin)
“These readings were chosen because of Sister Joseph Patrice’s love for the Blessed Sacrament and for the Eucharistic Liturgy. Her devotion to the Blessed Sacrament was quite evident since Sister Joseph Patrice has been here at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. She was faithful to her two or three hours in the Exposition Chapel each week even though this past year she could hardly get into her place because of her painful leg. Nevertheless, you could find her in that chapel daily,” said Sister Mary Pat Peacock in her commentary for Sister Joseph Patrice Shea, who died Sept. 4.
Patricia “Patsy” Shea was born Oct. 18, 1922, in Galesburg, Ill. She was one of four daughters of Patrick and Eulalia (Creen) Shea. She attended St. Joseph Academy in Galesburg and Providence Juniorate at the Woods. She entered the Congregation Jan. 5, 1941, and professed first and perpetual vows Aug. 15, 1943, and Jan. 23, 1949, respectively. Sister Joseph Patrice earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and a master’s degree in history from Loyola University, Los Angeles.
For 47 years, Sister Joseph Patrice ministered in education. She began her pedagogical ministry in 1943 at Holy Trinity, New Albany, Ind. Her other Indiana classrooms included St. John the Baptist, Fort Wayne; Sacred Heart, Evansville; St. Rose, Vincennes; and St. Paul, Sellersburg. She spent one year at Blessed Sacrament, Burlington, N.C., and three years at St. Athanasius, Evanston, Ill. The majority of her teaching days were spent in California at St. Joseph, Hawthorne; St. Elisabeth, Van Nuys; St. Anthony, Gardena; Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, San Diego; St. Therese, Alhambra; and St. Ambrose, Hollywood. From 1991 to 1999, Sister Joseph Patrice served as a retreat hostess at the Marywood Retreat Center, Diocese of Orange, Calif. From 1998 to 2005, she cared for her sister, Eulalia, in Redondo Beach, Calif. Sister Joseph Patrice returned to the Woods in 2005.
“Sister Joseph Patrice was very faithful to her ministry at the Marywood Retreat Center. She was so gracious and accommodating to those who requested hospitality there. Monsignor Sammon, a diocesan priest, always recognized and appreciated the preparations Sister Joseph Patrice made for the diocesan and parish events at the center,” shared Sister Mary Pat.
“When Sister Joseph Patrice lived at St. Ambrose Convent in Hollywood, Calif., she enjoyed helping with the Thanksgiving baskets for the needy. She took care of many homeless who came to the convent for handouts. She made many sandwiches for them, carefully preparing and bagging them for their journey to wherever. One sister who lived with Sister Joseph Patrice in Hollywood said that she was such an easy person to live with — so very helpful. A couple of sisters mentioned her devotion to the Rosary and the Way of the Cross. Another said she was a very prayerful person,” continued Sister Mary Pat.
“Sister Joseph Patrice’s niece, Jeanne Downs of Torrance, Calif., wanted to make sure that we knew her aunt was an avid Notre Dame fan and that she loved everything Irish. Sister Joseph Patrice’s name being Shea, we would surmise that! Of course we are very aware of Sister Joseph Patrice’s love for Notre Dame football. She listened and watched the games with her whole heart and soul. Jeanne shared that ‘If Notre Dame lost, Sister Joseph Patrice lost her appetite.’ Just last Saturday [Sept. 1], as weak as she was, Sisters Edna Scheller and Richard Bussing were watching the game with her. Her attention was not good, but when Sister Richard said to her, ‘No wonder they are losing; you are not helping,’ Sister Joseph Patrice’s response was, ‘Yes, I am,’” continued Sister Mary Pat.
The Mass of Christian Burial for Sister Joseph Patrice was celebrated Sept. 8 with the Rev. Daniel Hopcus presiding. She is survived by one sister, Ruthmarie Leone of Carlsbad, Calif.
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