Sister Patricia Cushing, CSJ

Sister Patricia Cushing, CSJ

(Sr. Robert Natalie)

April 4, 1946 – December 21, 2022

We remember her

in the blowing of the wind

and the chill of winter


In our liturgy today, we will hear the Alma Mater of Fontbonne Academy. The words describe the graduates of the Academy as “women of courage, by this Fountain made strong.” Certainly, Patricia could lay claim to that title. Faced with a devastating diagnosis, Patricia determined what path she should follow and set out to put all her affairs in order. Patricia approached her last journey with grace and resolve and when she had accomplished her task, she allowed her spirit to rest in the Lord. A woman of courage!

Patricia Ann Cushing was the fifth child born to Robert and Natalie Cushing. She joined her brother, Robert, and her sisters, Frances, Natalie, and Mary Ellen. Growing up in Quincy, Patricia attended St. Joseph School and Fontbonne Academy. From an early age, Patricia wanted to be a Sister, a missionary perhaps; however, her education connected her with the Sisters of St. Joseph and, when she perceived God’s call, she entered the Novitiate in Framingham.

Patricia’s ministry began in the elementary schools of Newton, Somerville and Milton. Her musical talent and her love of theology moved her to ministry in parishes and in dioceses both in the east and in the mid-west. To prepare herself for this work Patricia earned master’s degrees in both music and theology from Boston University and Weston School of Theology respectively.

Like the troubadours of old, who sang their songs, packed up their lyres, and moved on to sing in another place at another time, Patricia traveled to Kansas City (both Kansas and Missouri) and on to Norwich, Connecticut to serve in the diocesan Offices of Worship or Liturgy. As part of her responsibilities, Patricia designed educational programs, wrote reflections on the scriptures used in liturgies, and conducted workshops and retreats. Several of the sisters of various communities with whom Patricia lived and ministered in the mid-west offered their recollections of the time they shared together. Some of these you may have read on the memory table in the foyer.

Among Patricia’s talents was the gift of healing massage. Upon her return to the Boston area, she ministered to the residents of Bethany Health Care Center and St. Joseph Hall, offering them physical comfort and prayerful support.
Patricia was known as a thoughtful, kind, and generous person, who touched many lives with her random acts of kindness – a plant for one who was hospitalized, a phone call to one who needed cheering, a homemade loaf of bread for one who was shut in, and the list goes on. She saw her ministry to the dear neighbor as having no bounds. A woman of courage!

Patricia, in the words of John O’Donohue, “May you see the reflection of your life’s kindness and beauty in all the tears that fall for you”. (To Bless the Space Between Us)

Godspeed, Patricia, until we meet again!

Given by Sister Judith Costello, CSJ
December 28, 2022