August 9, 1935 – August 20, 2018
Sister Patricia Connolly died very peacefully on Monday August 20, 2018. A Sister of Mercy for 66 years she was 83 years old.
Sister Pat was born August 9, 1935 to John Joseph and Margaret (Ater) Connolly in Urbana, Ohio. She was one of ten children; however, only four boys and two girls reached adulthood as the others died in infancy or early childhood.
Sister Pat attended all eight grades at St. Mary’s School in Urbana. It was here where she first met the Sisters of Mercy. Her great aunt was also a Sister of Mercy who worked as a nurse in Hamilton, Ohio. Her desire to be a sister began in the first grade, and it was the sisters she had in school and her aunt that drew her to the Mercy community.
When looking toward high school she was encouraged to attend the aspirant school run by the sisters of Mercy in Fremont, Ohio. This school was for young girls interested in religious life. In 1952 at the age of sixteen she entered the Sisters of Mercy in Cincinnati, Ohio. She professed vows in 1953 and perpetual vows in 1956. She was initially given the name Sister Mary Victor. After Vatican II, however, she returned to her baptismal name of Patricia; Pat to all her friends.
Sister Patricia attended Edgecliff College in Cincinnati, Ohio and received a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Education and Philosophy. In 1966 she received a Master’s Degree from Cardinal Stritch College in Milwaukee, WI in Special Education and Psychology. She later studied Montessori Education at Xavier University, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Sister Patricia began her long ministry in education at St. Ignatius school in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her first assignment as a special education teacher was in 1961 at St. Maurice School in Potomac, Maryland. This school was started by the Sisters to fill the needs of special education students before there were special education classes in the public schools or mainstreaming. Special education was a long-time ministry and love of Sister Pat. In 1972 she became part of the Edgecliff college faculty and was the Director of the Special Education Program there.
Her service to special needs children continued at the Cerebral Palsy school in Louisville, Kentucky. For many years, she was administrator of St. Bernard School for Exceptional Children in Nashville, Tennessee. Thus, her ministry of education met the needs of many types of students. In addition to special education, Sister Pat had a special love of serving the poor and elderly. She worked with the very poor in Florida. She organized after school programs for the children of immigrants and helped in a soup kitchen which sometimes had five seating for each meal in one day. For several years she managed HUD housing in Dayton, Ohio. Again, helping the less fortunate. In 2003 she moved to Knoxville, Tennessee and visited patients and families there in the hospitals sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy. Sister Pat then moved to Cincinnati and volunteered at the Mercy Montessori School. In 2015 Sister Pat “retired” to St. Bernardine Home in Fremont, Ohio. However, she used her time to provide activities and enjoyment for the sisters. Daily exercise tapes, the rosary, adult coloring and weekly movies were part of her routine. She also helped plan celebrations for holidays, picnics and restaurant trips. She prayed at the bedside of many Sisters.
Her various ministries in many parts of the U.S. show that her entire religious life was one of service. She said “I have had a rich life of service to others.” Many people from all walks and situations in life have been blest by her service. Sister Pat is survived by the members of her religious community, the Sisters of Mercy, her sister Cathy Niederkohr, her brother, John and her sister-in-law Nora Connolly. She is preceded in death by her parents and her brothers Joseph, Michael, James, Bobby, Tommy and Jerry, and sister Joann.
Visitation will be Thursday, August 23, 2018 from 3:00 pm -7:00 pm at St. Bernardine Home, 1220 Tiffin Street, Fremont, OH, 43420, and again on Friday, August 24, 2018 until the funeral. Funeral services will take place Friday, August 24, 2018 at 4:00 pm in St. Bernardine’s chapel. Burial will follow in Our Lady of The Pines Cemetery. Arrangements have been entrusted to Keller-Koch- Chudzinski Funeral Home.
- Visitation Thursday, August 23, 2018
- Funeral Service Friday, August 24, 2018
- Burial Friday, August 24, 2018