Whitman woman takes vows as Sister of St. Joseph

BRIGHTON -- Patricia Quinn, CSJ who professed vows as a Sister of St. Joseph of Boston on Sept. 16 said she is excited to formalize her commitment with “a large community filled with wisdom-based women.”

“Over the past two years I have done pastoral care at Bethany Health Care Center where many retired sisters live. This has been an opportunity for me to hear the stories of these women. More often than not I leave there rooted in my commitment that this is the right path to take,” she said.

Sister Pat, a native of Brockton and a 20-year resident of Whitman, is the eldest of Helen Quinn’s four children. Before Sister Pat formally entered the Sisters of St. Joseph’s two-year novitiate program she worked as a medical technologist at New England Sinai Hospital in Stoughton. In August 2004, Sister Pat and six other women from various parts of the United States participated in eight months of formal prayer and study in the Sisters of St. Joseph Federation Canonical Novitiate. The novitiate is a unique opportunity for these women to become grounded in their call to live as Gospel women.

During the past year, Sister Pat entered into the apostolic phase of her novitiate and worked part time at Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Sudbury. “[Sister] Brenda Forry, CSJ, was the pastoral associate there,” she explained, “and I wanted to see what it was like to work in this ministry. Working with Brenda gave me the opportunity to experience a suburban parish in action; a parish that is flourishing with many programs for lay people.”

There is a non-denominational food pantry in the basement of the church, which services several communities in the Metro-West area. “I knew absolutely nothing about why people come to food pantries or how they work,” said Sister Pat. “Working there has taught me so much about families who need basic things for their children, older single women on fixed incomes, and the needs of the working poor. I’ve started collecting jelly from our sisters and my friends because it is what so many parents with young children need. It’s not so much about the jelly -- It’s about how we treat the poor. The workers there treat the people with dignity,” she added.

Sister Pat’s profession of “first vows” at Fontbonne Hall in Framingham marks the next stage of her formation process.

During the liturgy, Sister Pat spoke of her experience of noticing God in ordinary events and people -- in the people at The Literacy Connection, Bethany Health Care Center, Our Lady’s in Sudbury, and the sisters at Fontbonne Hall. “Where do you find God in your life?” she asked the congregation.

Sister Kay O’Brien, CSJ, reflected on Sister Pat’s journey saying, “She has discovered that this is the place where she can become her best self. The soil of the Sisters of St. Joseph has been enriched and nourished by Pat’s presence among us.”