Generous ... friendly, ready with a good laugh
—S. Laverne Aumuth
We CSJs have lost a bright star when Pat Flavin decided to go off to God to a well-deserved heavenly rest. She was generous and open-minded; she was interested in whatever you wanted her to be interested in and gave of herself freely. S. Rosemary Flanigan
John and Helen (Cassidy) Flavin welcomed their daughter Patricia Ann on July 31, 1932. She and older brothers, Jack and Bob, attended their parish school, St. Edward. Patricia continued her education at Incarnate Word Academy, chosen she said because her “mother wanted to make a lady out of me.” Though Patricia liked the Incarnate Word sisters, her constant connection to the CSJ sisters through the parish had drawn her to them. She entered the community on September 15, 1950, receiving the habit and the name Sister Marie Goretti, a newly canonized saint at the time, on March 19, 1951. She received her bachelor's degree from Fontbonne College (1969) as well as a Life Certification in education from the state of Missouri and a Life Certification in religious/education/coordinator from the Archdiocese of St. Louis.
Her ministry began as a cottage/dorm/unit supervisor at the St. Joseph Home for Girls in Kansas City, Missouri (1953). Next, she held the same position at St. Joseph Home for the Friendless in Chicago (1957). In 1959, she went to Nazareth Convent as a dietician. From March through August, Sister Marie Goretti was at Fontbonne College as a dining room worker (1960), then began teaching primary at St. Gregory in St. Ann, Missouri, until she was sent to St. Joseph Industrial School in Keshena, Wisconsin (1964). There, she learned the “ropes” from Sister Catherine Ingolia. That was the beginning of a long friendship.
When Sister Marie Goretti’s father became ill, the community sent her to St. Louis to be able to help him. She taught primary and intermediate at Nativity of Our Lord School until 1976 when she went to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton/St. Robert Regional School in St. Charles, Missouri. In 1990, she also took over the position of religious education coordinator at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.
When her dear friend Sister Catherine Ingolia was taken by a cerebral stroke in May of 1990, S. Patricia was devastated. They had lived and worked together for 28 years.
Little did I know that because of this gigantic experience, one of the worst of my life, it would give me the heart to understand and to walk with so many others in their pain and be completely present to them.
In 2004, she retired from the ministry of education and, for a time, drove for the Office of Aging. In 2005, Sister Patricia took a course in clinical pastoral education at Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Peters, Missouri. After receiving her CPE certificate, she served as a pastoral minister at Barnes Jewish. She then ministered as a chaplin at Barnes Siteman Cancer Center in St. Peters (2009-2017).
S. Patricia Lorenz entered with S. Pat. In describing her she said, Words that come to mind are ‘exuberant joy’ [as well as] her sense of humor and her laugh. I think Pat’s driving force was that basically she just loved people. She had a deep love for the community and the Church although not always in agreement with them. She had a gift for hospitality and was always generous with that gift ... liked entertaining and thoroughly enjoyed a party or having a good time, but underneath it was always a desire to get people together.
I learned many lessons in my life’s travels but the biggest lesson I took from the experience was that God cannot be outdone in generosity. The more we gave of ourselves and our possessions, the more we received. Sister Patricia Flavin
Sister Helen Oates