News & Events
Sister Patricia Ellen Corkery, CSJ
Sister Patricia Ellen Corkery, CSJ
(Sr. Leo Clement)
March 13, 1935 – June 3, 2022
Be as God wants you
in nature, grace and glory.
This, your one desire
— from Maxims in Haiku
Sister Patricia Corkery filled our world with love. What a gift and blessing she was and is to us: Sisters of St. Joseph; her family; her many friends; her Church; and this fragile world. She spent her days making people happy.
It is appropriate that we celebrate Pat’s funeral at the Motherhouse in Brighton, where she spent many happy years here in ministry. She was baptized at St. Columbkille’s Church, right down the street. She graduated from St. Columbkille’s grammar and high school before entering the Sisters of St. Joseph sixty-nine years ago. I guess you would say she was a “townie.”
Pat was one of four children born to Joseph and Bridget. Theirs was a happy home, filled with laughter, fun, and Irish music. Pat told me once that her home always had room for “one or two more.”
How she loved to celebrate with her family and travel with them. She always loved to talk about her trip to Ireland and her many trips to see Jerry at the Maryknolls in New York. How she loved visiting with Jerry.
Pat was a great storyteller. Her ministries in the Congregation were varied. No matter where Pat was missioned, she was a sign of God’s visible presence and joy. She always made God look good.
She began her ministry in food service in convents located in Franklin, Swampscott, Somerville, and in the Novitiate in Framingham. Wherever Pat lived, not only did she feed the Sister, she fed everyone in the neighborhood.
She came back to Brighton to minister as a Unit Manager at the Franciscan Children’s Hospital and then as the administrator of the Motherhouse. Pat went on to study Early Childhood Education, receiving high honors at graduation. After graduation, she went on to teach at Walnut Park Montessori School in Newton and the kindergarten at St. Clement’s in Somerville.
As Jesus gathered the little children to himself, so Pat lovingly embraced the children in her care with her gigantic heart and open arms.
She was a beloved colleague. There was nothing she could not do — or challenge she would not undertake. She would make sugar Easter eggs that you could view a scene through, with three, four, and five-year-olds, or create anything without following a pattern.
In her retirement years at Holy Name, in West Roxbury, Pat visited the elderly in their homes, bringing them Communion, comfort, and a listening ear. She also assisted with the funerals in the parish.
In the convent, she prepared gourmet meals for the sisters who were in active ministry and, on occasion, would invite the priests to the rectory for dinner. They never refused an invitation.
Today’s first reading, chosen by Pat for her funeral, we will hear the words of scripture from the Book of Ecclesiastes – “There is a time for everything, a season for every purpose under heaven” and now is Pat’s time to be raised to eternal life. We can hear God greet Pat with these words, “Well done, good and faithful friend, enter the place prepared for you since the beginning of creation”.
Given by Denise Kelly, CSJ – June 9, 2022
For those of you who may not know me, my name is Katherine. I am my Auntie Pat’s grand-niece. I’m sure you’re all just as surprised as I am that my Auntie Pat requested I do her eulogy because we all know that my dad, Tom, was her favorite person. But I guess you’ll all have to settle for me today. But I’m glad that she chose me because I now have the honor of telling you what a beautiful and full life she lived. I wasn’t alive for most of my aunt’s life, but the 22 years that I had with her I will cherish forever.
Patricia Corkery was one of four children, and was the daughter of the late Joseph and Bridget Corkery. In 1953, Auntie Pat joined the Sisters of Saint Joseph at the age of 18, and in her 69 years there, she remained close with her siblings and was a beloved member of our family. Throughout my entire life, there was never a birthday, holiday, dance recital, or major life event that Auntie Pat wasn’t a part of. She always showed up for the people that she loved. Sometimes the birthday card would come a few days early or a few days late, but she never forgot, and she always showed you how much she loved you (and the 20 bucks she’d slip into the card was pretty sweet too). And I’d like to think that we all showed her just how much we loved her too.
Whether it was everyone gathering together at Holy Name for Christmas dinner and watching whatever sports game was on, saving her a spot at the “adult table” for Thanksgiving dinner, or making regular visits to Bethany with chocolate, cookies, and her favorite: port wine, or even my brother running to her for hugs and comfort as a kid instead of going to Auntie J. She was always really proud of that one.
When I tell people about my Auntie Pat, they usually ask me: “is that aunt the nun?” To which I always answer, “Yes, but she’s a really cool nun!” And she really was one of the coolest people I’ve ever met. Her faith wasn’t just what she dedicated her life to, it really was a part of her soul, and it would always shine through in the best of ways.
In college, I was gifted an “ugly Christmas sweater” by a friend of mine, and I decided to wear it on Christmas Day in anticipation of Auntie Pat’s reaction. This sweater was dark green, had a picture of Jesus’s face on it wearing a birthday hat, and in big, bold letters it said “Birthday Boy!” I will never forget the look on my Auntie Pat’s face when she saw me wearing it. She instantly lit up and said to me, “Oh my goodness! It looks just like him! So handsome!” – as if speaking about a close, personal friend. I guess he would be a close, personal friend to a nun, right? She always did have the best sense of humor.
She also had quite a sense of adventure. Even though she knew from a young age that she wanted to join the Sisters of Saint Joseph, that didn’t stop her from exploring the world or taking some risks. She traveled to Ireland several times with her siblings, visited Rome where she met Pope John Paul II, and even went as far as Western Samoa to visit her brother Jerry. Her adventures didn’t stop there though — Auntie Pat managed to find fun even in the simplest of places, like a Red Sox game. When a game ran late one night, and all of the trains stopped running, my Auntie Pat decided to hitchhike all the way back to Brighton with Sister Ann Darcy (who I’m sure was thrilled about the plan). They got into the truck of a total stranger, who turned out to be a teacher at the Mount. Only Auntie Pat would get that lucky.
She was always so positive about life; she created fun everywhere she went and brought joy to everyone around her. My Auntie Pat had this incredible ability to make you feel special. She had such a natural skill for making everyone she knew feel loved and important to her. Whenever I would visit her at Holy Name or Bethany, she would always greet me with a big smile and a warm hug, and she’d always tell me that she was praying for me. She would tell everyone that she was praying for them. I’m surprised that she could keep track. Everything she did was always in service to others or to God. She was always the most selfless person I have ever known.
Auntie Pat did God’s work here on earth, and now she will reap the rewards in heaven. No words can express how deeply I will miss her. I am so grateful and blessed that I got as much time with her as I did and got to be a recipient of her unwavering love. Every single week when I drive past Holy Name on my way to work, I will be thinking of her with so much love in my heart. May God bless you, Auntie Pat, and keep you safe in heaven, until we’ve all reunited again one day. Say hi to Nana for me.
Given by Katherine Pineo Sister’s grandniece – June 9, 2022