Sister Mary Patricia Peacock (formerly Sister Alice Elizabeth)
(Jesus said) “I have come that they may have life and have it in abundance.” John 10:10
We gather today to celebrate the abundant life of Sister Mary Pat Peacock. Fullness of life — this is what Sister Mary Pat sought; this is what she embraced — in the life of her family, in the life of her Sisters of Providence community, in the life of the Church, said Sister Carol Meyers in her commentary for Sister Mary Patricia Peacock who died June 28, 2013.
Mary Mira Patricia Peacock was one of three girls born to George and Alice Elizabeth Welsh Peacock in Chicago, Sept. 1, 1927. She attended Catholic elementary schools in Chicago: St. Robert Bellarmine and Our Lady of the Angels, and graduated from Providence High School in 1945. It was to her faith-filled family life, however, that she attributed her sense of somehow always knowing that she belonged to God. In later years she would marvel at the faith-witness her sisters and their husbands gave as they raised their children. She was intensely interested in each one of her nieces and nephews, and she thoroughly enjoyed the times two of her nieces were able to visit her at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. She has always been a solid and prayerful support to all of her family members and will continue to be.
That same intense interest in their lives and activities extended to her community life. Sister Mary Pat always said that from the time she was five years old she knew she would be a Sister of Providence. She entered the Congregation Feb. 2, 1945, receiving the religious name Sister Alice Elizabeth, and was received as a novice Aug. 15 that same year. She professed her first and perpetual vows in 1947 and 1952, respectively. She earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, a master’s in education from Marygrove College in Detroit and a master’s in pastoral theology from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. She lived as a Sister of Providence for 68 years and was known as a “community woman,” a woman of integrity who would always speak up for the rights of another person.
Her degrees in education prepared her to be a teacher, which she was for 27 years in schools in St. Philip Neri and St. Joan of Arc School Indianapolis and at St. Andrew, St. Columbkille, Our Lady of Sorrows, St. Angela and St. Mel-Holy Ghost Schools in Chicago. In these schools she worked with young children from pre-school age to grade 3. Sister Mary Pat’s pastoral theology degree prepared her to serve as pastoral associate and DRE at St. Dennis in Lockport for 10 years and at Assumption parish in Coal City, Ill., for 14 years. She performed all these ministries with a passion for that life in abundance. It seemed as though she was always looking forward to the next encounter, the next opportunity to be of service. She approached everything with great enthusiasm. She did not want to miss anything, including our Annual Community Meeting last week. However, she was with us in spirit as her name was read aloud each day at Mass.
When Mary Pat returned to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods in 1998, she continued living life in abundance for another 15 years. Her volunteer outreach ministries were many and varied: working at Providence Food Pantry and at the Wabash Valley Health Center (St. Ann’s Clinic); tutoring at Educational Family Services and praying with inmates at the federal prison. She also found time for phone room duty at Owens Hall, to lector at Mass, visit friends in health care and spend time in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel. Mary Pat enjoyed a good game of cards and playing mahjong, as well as baking, whether it be 30 loaves of bread for the bake sale or a plate of cookies for a band meeting. Her enthusiasm even included being among the multitude of die-hard Cubs fans!
What made life even more enjoyable for her was doing these things with and for friends. She will be remembered for her deep, lasting and loyal friendships.
Sister Mary Pat sought and found abundance of life in the Church. She wrote about herself several years ago: “I had a desire to be a missionary to China or to Peru, South America. However, God always seemed to have something else in mind. At least I had the privilege of visiting Taiwan and later writing letters to the Sisters signing my Chinese name, Mei Pei. In every place I have ministered I was able to share God’s love with individuals and families.”
Sister Mary Pat continued, “Along with the missionary desire in me was always the desire to be a priest. Maybe that was because my uncle was a priest and I was enamored of him. I realize my dream of becoming a priest will not come true for me; however, I know I share in the priestly ministry because of my baptism. I can be and have been a servant leader. … (and she concluded) I wish to offer the physical suffering of the last years of my life to Jesus for all those women who share my desire.”
Sister Mary Pat had begun her life recollections with these words: “I pray sincerely that when God calls me, I will be ready. I pray that my life is being lived as a preparation for that great day.” And now, Mary Pat, your prayer has been answered! Having lived an abundant life, you are experiencing life eternal — in abundance, concluded Sister Carol
The Mass of Christian Burial for Sister Mary Patricia Peacock was July 9, 2013 in the Church of the Immaculate Conception at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods with the Rev. Daniel Hopcus presiding.
Please share your thoughts or memories on the life of Sister Mary Pat in the comments section below.
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I was deeply saddened to hear that my aunt passed. I just received a birthday card from her which is when I heard of her illness. She wanted to wish me a happy Birthday and wish my wife and I a happy anniversary. Even in her last weeks, she took time to remember the little things. She certainly had every reason not to remember a birthday and anniversary. I hope I learn to be that selfless in my life and when facing the end.
We will miss you Aunt Pat.
Alan & Katherine
I will truly miss my Aunt Pat. I have a lot of wonderful memories of her and all her visits over the years. I will especially miss my visits to see her at St Mary of the Woods. It was always so peaceful and relaxing there. I just spoke to her a few weeks ago and her main concern was how everyone else was doing. She will hold a very special place in my heart
Because of her love and friendship to the recently past Sister Ann Reger, I will always be grateful to Sister Pat for being there for her, when Sister Ann most needed her. I met Sister Pat once at a BBQ when she escorted Sister Ann to Calif one last time to visit family and friends. She was delightful and I will always remember her for her graciousness. May God bless her and all the Sisters of Mary of the Woods.
SR Pat was my cousin&even though we did keep in touch Ior my sisters never heard of her death. Needless to say we will miss her very much.