Written on: December 8, 2016
May she rest in peace in the arms of her compassionate God!
Words of Remembrance for Sr. Patricia Watkins. Given by Maureen B. McElroy, 12/10/16
Good Morning it is my Honor and Privilege to speak to you today about my Beloved friend Sister Pat Watkins. She touched and assisted so many, as all in this room can attest too, whether you met her through Spiritual Direction, Centering Prayer, or as a Counselor. She lived her life in humble service to God, and those she came in contact with in everyday life. She had a unique way of understanding Human Nature. God gave her a Listening Heart, to offer those who came to her for advice, and allow them to see their own potential.
Through the years, we had a unique and special bond. I will treasure it. We would talk at length about Heaven, and knowing there was more out there. One of our favorite subjects to discuss was The Archangels. I remember saying some of the things I wanted to be taken to when I get to Heaven, I wanted to be taken to the Parting of The Red Sea. Sister Pat said think bigger, with that twinkle in her eye she said “How About Everything.”
She always challenged people to think bigger. Look beyond what was in front of you. Living with such Faith knowing there was always more. Sister Pat always contemplated Life’s Big Questions.
When the Doctors diagnosed her with what would ultimately bring her Home, her reaction was typical Sister Pat, she said, “I have been waiting my whole life for this.” Such faith, that rivaled my own. We both know there is something greater than us. I will say that her unwavering Faith was instilled in her by both of her Parents, who were deeply religious, and said the family rosary every night on their knees. Sister Pat always belonged to God, so many talents, gifted musician, artist, athlete, ambidextrous, writing with both hands, She was blessed with a great sense of humor, always a twinkle in her eyes, and walking with humility but also a sense of purpose even as she got ready for the next transition of Life, she was more concerned with being of service and how she could help others.
In Life you meet people along the Journey that you call a “Soul Friend” Sister Pat and I were just that we both walked in Faith and Service to each other. Sister Pat would say she could not wait to join The Archangels and continue Living in The Presence of God. I often said that her Soul was like a Diamond that shined so bright, and that is a testament to the people she touched in this room today. We both uniquely understood that in life sometimes people suffer, but yet it is another way for Faith to Shine through. I was always aware that through her diagnosis, she would walk with Grace, and Dignity, Humility and I would be there every step of the way to help her through her transition.
I imagine Sister Pat when she went through The Door to her new life besides saying “Finally“, and that classic laugh having her Double Date with Archangel Michael and Jesus, also Archangel Uriel will have a partner in handling incense.
I would like to end with a quote from an unknown author. “Most people do not see things as they are, because they see things as They are. There are many self-created filters keeping them from seeing with a clear vision.” Sister Pat’s many years of Centering Prayer gave her a Contemplative Mind. She learned how to see and love things as they are, and not just as we want them to be. The mutual admiration is still intact. God Bless you my dear and I will talk to you soon.
Sister Patricia Watkins, GNSH, 88, formerly Sister deChantal, died surrounded by family and Sisters in community on December 6, 2016 in Holy Redeemer Lafayette in the 65th year of religious life. Patricia Anne Watkins was born January 17, 1928 to William H and Marguerite E Maxwell Watkins in Snyder, NY. Raised in Buffalo, she attended Sacred Heart Academy and graduated from Holy Angels Academy.
She entered the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart in 1952 where ministerial service spanned more than sixty years at the high school, college, and adult education level, as well as that of counselor and hospital chaplain. She taught elementary students at Holy Angels, Buffalo and was an instructor at D’Youville College for a year in the early 1960’s. During her early religious life she taught elementary students in Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania and Georgia. Moving to Yardley, PA her years in education included eight at Sacred Heart Junior College, Yardley, PA where she also served as president for a year.
For more than 37 years her service was in the area of counseling, spiritual direction and chaplaincy in the Trenton, NJ and Yardley, PA area. From 1976 to 81 she was a counselor at the Trenton Catholic Welfare Bureau followed by 19 years as a Marriage/Family Counselor at Our Lady of Sorrows Parish, Mercerville, NJ. In 2001 she took a position as Chaplain in the L.I.F.E. Program at St. Francis Medical Center and later become a consultant and volunteered in the same program until 2013. She continued the role of Eucharistic Minister to Nursing Homes and a private practice as Counselor/Spiritual Director until shortly before her death. She was Director of Providence Center at the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart Motherhouse for five years during the 1980’s.
One of eight children, she grew up in Buffalo, NY. She received a BA/ English/ Education from D’Youville College, an M.Ed./Deaf; Hard of Hearing Speech Therapy from University of Buffalo and also received a NYS Certificate/ Deaf Education & Speech Therapy prior to entering the Grey Nuns. She held an MA/English Lit from Villanova University and an MS/Pastoral, Clinical Counseling from the Graduate Institute of Pastoral Counseling, Iona University.
A talented artist, she generously shared her gift with many, providing sketches to cheer the ill or celebrate special occasions.
She is predeceased by her parents, brothers J. William, Jean Vianney and James C. Watkins and sisters Margaret Mary Zugger and Joan Phyllis Gerace. In addition to her religious congregation she is survived by siblings, Rosemary (Sissy) Caito and Paul F Watkins and nieces and nephews.
A gathering on Saturday, December 10 will take place at 10 AM in the Holy Redeemer Sisters Chapel, 521 Moredon Rd., Huntingdon Valley, PA followed by her Funeral Mass at 10:30 AM. Burial of cremains in Resurrection Cemetery. Arrangements by Beck-Givnish Funeral Home, Inc. Memorial donations in Sister’s memory may be made online to the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart, or by mail at the following address:14500 Bustleton Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19116.