Patricia Lynch, CSJ

We remember her in the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter

September 25, 1933 – January 2, 2019

In this season of light, God chose to gift Sister Patricia Lynch with eternal life and light.  As we celebrate the Christmas and Epiphany seasons, we are once again reminded of God’s unconditional love for us.  God is with us in our grief and loss of our sister, aunt Petie, and good friend and comforts us with the blessings of this season.  God has been manifested to us through the life of this special woman.

Patricia Lynch was born in Boston to Patrick and Hannah Lynch who were originally from Ireland.  She was one of three children.  Her sister and best friend Eileen and her brother Gene shared a family home that was one of welcome and warm hospitality.  Their door was always open.

 Pat graduated from Cathedral High School and entered the Sisters of St. Joseph in 1951.  Her ministry of education began at Gate of Heaven school in So. Boston and continued until June of 2012 when she completed her active ministry at Cardinal Spellman High School in Brockton.  Truly, Pat circled the city of Boston and beyond with love for fifty-eight years.  

 When she left South Boston, Pat taught at St. Catherine’s, Norwood; St. Patrick’s, Natick; Keith Hall in Lowell; Fontbonne Academy in Milton.  She also served in the Archdiocese of Boston’s School Office as well as on the Leadership Team of the Sisters of St. Joseph.  Pat truly loved teaching and deeply valued Catholic education.  She was described by those who taught with her as a dynamo of energy, vibrant, compassionate and caring.  Her experience, expertise and knowledge were tremendous assets wherever she served.  In Pat’s own words, the goal of her ministry was to “share and work with other men and women, seeking through this collaboration, to bring greater fruition to the diversity of the gifts which the Spirit imparts”.

Since June of 2013 Sister Pat Lynch has continued her ministry of welcome, compassion, prayer and gracious hospitality at her home here at Bethany Health Care Center.  Her warmth, gratitude, love and embrace touched any guest who came to her door.  The beautiful blanket on her bed with her grandnieces and grandnephews’ pictures imprinted on it was always a source of great conversations about the family she loved so much. It gave her an opportunity to brag about each one.

Eileen asked that the poem on the back of today’s funeral program be included as it says so much about Pat.  We truly feel blessed for having experienced Pat’s gentle presence and we give thanks that the world is a better place because of the joy she brought into our lives.  May she rest in the loving arms of God who loves unconditionally.

 Given by: S. Denise Kelly

January 8, 2019

 Sister Joan Duffy will now offer reflections on the life of her dear friend.

 Mary Oliver ‘s poetry has touched countless readers in all the ways she expounds on her love for the physical world of nature and the powerful bonds that exist among all living things.  For Sister Patricia Lynch, she took to heart and recognized the importance of being in relationship with God, Creation and the dear neighbor without distinction and so relationship was at the heart of her mission as a Sister of St. Joseph.

 As we gather to honor Patricia and celebrate her life among us, I would like to share with you excerpts from a poem written by Mary Oliver titled Evidence.

 Where do I live?

If I had no address, as many people do not,

I could nevertheless say that I lived in the same town as the lilies of the field, and the still waters.   

Spring and all through the neighborhood now there are people tending flowers.

Beauty without purpose is beauty without virtue. But all beautiful things inherently have this function—to excite the viewers toward sublime thought.

Glory to that world, that good teacher.

Among all creation there is none called the least or the greatest.

I believe in kindness. Also in mischief. Also in singing, especially when singing is not necessarily prescribed.

And finally, keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.


I believe that this poem reminds us and gifts us with the evidence you and I need to remember Patricia Lynch, CSJ

 Where do you live?

The town of Mattapan where Patricia lived was very special to her and her family, being her childhood home. It is there that Eileen, and Pat and Eugene lived taking care of her dad, Patrick and celebrating life with their mother Hannah and Uncle Jim. Whenever you were lucky enough to drop in to visit, Pat and Eileen’s mother Hannah invited you into the kitchen for a cup of tea. The hearth was always lit to welcome all who entered even strangers and this hospitality lived on in the life of Patricia and continues to this very day in the home of Eileen and Paul on Harland St. in Milton and in their neighborhoods.

Whenever you visited Sister Patricia at Bethany you might have noticed her green book entitled A Contemporary Celtic Prayer Book. Patricia loved all things Irish, a gift from her mother, but particularly Celtic Spirituality and praying with the Hours of the Day

 I would like to share with you a Reading of a Meditative Moment found in the Tuesday’s Morning Prayer as the Hearth fire is lit and draws us near to God.

This was a favorite prayer of Pat’s and describes Patricia’s deep faith.

 Pause to look out the window, reflect and pray

Each morning the gift of light reappears

Whether sunny or cloudy blessed light always returns to brighten your path.

Just as your ancestors lit the hearth at day’s beginning, God lights the sun to return and bless you.

Thanks be to God for kindling the light.


Sister Patricia Lynch, also known as Sister Eileen Francis had another name that she loved to be called and that name was Petie. It seems when her younger sister Eileen was unable to say Patricia she called Patricia Petie.

 Petie became an endearing name for Eileen and Paul, her nephew Brian, Kara and Tom, Sheila and Dave, as well as the next generation of grandnieces Sophia, Hannah, Lucy and Ella and her grandnephews, Jack, Dillon and Colton.

Everyone on the fourth floor of Bethany, upon entering Sister Patricia’s room saw many art drawings of pumpkins, flowers, and hearts addressed to Petie.

Additionally, there were many family pictures on the poster boards around the room. But for some reason, Sister Patricia never wanted the old pictures to be taken down so the challenge for her family was to make room for the most recent photos.

There are many other towns that sister Patricia held in memory, places where she ministered such as South Boston, Lowell, Brockton and Framingham, where she will be remembered as a loving reconciling presence to all the people she encountered daily.

 I could nevertheless say that Patricia lived in the same town as the lilies of the field for her trust never wavered and she depended totally on God’s providence and care for her as found in the words of Matthew 6:

“Why worry about clothing? Think of the flowers growing in the fields; they never have to work or spin yet I assure you not even Solomon in all his regalia was robed as one of these.”

Patricia as God’s chosen one, holy and beloved put on and clothed herself with heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gratefulness, gentleness and patience.

Whenever anyone at Bethany encountered Sister Patricia, they were greeted with: Thank you. I hope you are having a good day!

 More convincing evidence continues: Among all of creation there is none called the least or the greatest.

In her professional life as math teacher, in the Catholic School Office, or in her Congregational Leadership positions, Sister Patricia lived out the words found in the Constitutions of the Sisters of St. Joseph on Life in Mission.

Aspiring to the unity for which Christ prayed, we are ready, with the grace of God and the help of one another, to initiate or support reconciliation of every kind: restoring people to friendship and harmony.”

While Sister Patricia was serving on the Congregational Leadership Team from 1986-1994 she was responsible for implementing the Congregation’s plans for changing the licensing of Bethany from a hospital to a long term care facility. I remember seeing her at the Motherhouse in Brighton many mornings at 7:00 a.m. as she proceeded to set up coffee for endless meetings with the lawyers involved in implementing this change. I would like to share with you a letter sent by these lawyers of the firm: Murphy, Lamere and Murphy on June 14,1994 to Sister Pat.

 Dear Sister:

I received the card recently which indicated you were stepping down as General Councilor for the Congregation. Everyone in this office has respected and appreciated your professionalism, competence, cooperation and warm and gracious personality.  We will miss you in our day-to day contacts with you on various legal matters.

Please keep in touch with us and let us know what your next endeavor is.

Again, thank you for everything you have done for us.

 Very truly yours,

Richard W. Murphy

Sister Pat’s next endeavor not known to her as she completed her leadership term was to be invited by Sister Thomasine to come to Cardinal Spellman High School as there was a new position opening up at Spellman for an admissions director.

 Even though Sister Patricia Lynch had decided to take a mini sabbatical she knew that admission work begins for each school in early October. Aware of how much she loved working in high schools she said. “Yes. And there is where we find more of the evidence of Sister Patricia’s wonderful life for there she found herself deeply believing in kindness, in mischief and also in singing especially when singing is not necessarily prescribed. Sister Pat also was able to convince the Cardinal Spellman High School community that it was possible for them to do the same.

I experienced Pat’s dedication as the admission director at Cardinal Spellman High in a couple of ways the following years. Once the open houses took place in October and applications began rolling in, you never saw Sister Patricia without her folders that contained all the applications of the students applying to Cardinal Spellman. It also was in this position that Sister Patricia was steeped in mischief.

No matter how many times Sister Thomasine and the admissions committee told Pat that they no longer had room for additional students, Sister Patricia then met with the parents and students whom did not receive an acceptance letter. After listening to their story Sister Patricia returned to Sister Thomasine bringing the folders of 3 or 4 more students to consider for acceptance.

I became an assistant admission counselor on the telephone at these times always very supportive of Pat’s positions. (I think Sister Thomasine is just finding out about this fact today). For Patricia and I always kept room in our heart for the unimaginable

Spring and all through Sister Patricia Lynch’s neighborhood, she was planting flowers. Why? I think it was her way to share the beauty of our world and to be joyful!

I would suggest we honor Sister Patricia Lynch, Petie, by becoming more aware of the beauty that surrounds us and if you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy,

our poet friend, Mary Oliver will remind us: Don’t hesitate! Give in to it!

Dear Patricia, rest in peace. Well done good and loving friend!

Given by: S. Joan Duffy, CSJ

January 8, 2019