Written on: December 8, 2016
Please join with us as we mourn the death of our Sister, Patricia Watkins (formerly Sister deChantal), GNSH who died on December 6, 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.
13 thoughts on “Sister Patricia Watkins”
My darling Pat was my counselor for 30+ years. She was so very special in many ways, and I miss her tremendously. I admired Pat’s intelligence, her kindness, her sense of humor, her ability to see a situation for what it was, and gently (or not so gently, depending on my stubbornness), lead me to see the situation honestly, but most of all, I admired the love she had for so many people. Pat gave so much of herself to me, especially when I most needed support and someone in my corner. How lucky I was to have met Pat, and have her in my life for many years. I think of her often and miss her will all of my heart. She was truly one of a kind. I will always love you and keep you close to my heart, Sister Pat.
She was a great friend and advisory when I worked with her on the Grey Nun Network for Mission editorial board. Her love for the Eternal Father was infectious. She will be missed.
Sr. Pat taught me to have faith in myself and the talents God gave which she recognized from her own many talents. She was a model of quiet faith and humility for a student to follow in the manner of St. Marguerite. My love and prayers have followed you.
Sr. Pat was our Spiritual Director, mentor, Counselor , and best friend. We knew her for 30 Yrs. and will miss her emencely. She was a blessing to our family. We know she will have a special place in Heaven. God Bless you Sr. Pat.
I had the privilege of getting to know Sr. pat on an alumni trip to Montreal! What a remarkable person she was and her sense of humor upon finding out I went to all these “religious places and I wasn’t even Catholic” was hysterical. At the time she predicted, rightly so, that it was just a matter of time before I converted. I suspect she, like many others I know, was offering some intercessory prayers on my behalf!
may she rest in peace and be counted among the many angels and saints in heaven!
My thoughts and prayers are with her Grey Nun family and her siblings, nieces and nephews.
Sr. Pat was one of the finest teachers I have ever experienced. Her dedication and compassion were outstanding. May she rest in peace.
Thank you Sister Pat for all your kindnesses to me. I was blessed to have known you.
We will never forget your advice to us in our time of need. Lou hopes you have acsess to a basketball court in heaven. May the good Lord hold you in his arms and continue to use your guidance at the angelic level.
Deepest sympathy in the loss of your beloved sister. May she Rest In Peace.
I so loved the English classes Sister taught. We used to compete to find out what movies were being brought in to view, based on very slim clues. So many times she has wandered through my head when certain phrases come to mind. She is dearly missed. Thank you to her family and to the GNSH for sharing her with so many.
Another Religious from Buffalo, an Oblate of Mary Immaculate, join with the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart in remembering and celebrating Sister Patricia. I shall offer Mass with you on December 10th.
Sister Patricia, you were an amazing woman and a gift in life. I will never forget your goodness to me and your belief in me.
Rest in peace!
We love you Sr. Pat! You are a Gift to our family! Won’t be the same without you…until we meet again, our dear friend and adopted family member! Love and Prayers-Tom, Jackie and kids oxoxoxo