Patricia Wojtaszek, SJ

1924 - 2014

Sr. PatSr. Patricia Wojtaszek, member of the Servants of Jesus, died on January 1, 2014 at St. Francis Home in Saginaw MI.   Sr. Patricia was 89 years old and in her 72th year of religious life.  

 

Born on August 14,  1924 in Detroit, Patricia was the fifth  of  the eight children of Mary and John Wojtaszek.   All her siblings preceded her in death, but Patricia is survived by several nieces and nephews.   Sr. Patricia attended St. Josaphat Elementary School and the Felician Academy High School.     Shortly after her graduation from high school,  Patricia entered the convent of the Felician Sisters in Livonia, MI.   She professed her final vows in the Order on August 15, 1952.  After much discernment, Patricia joined the Servants of Jesus Community in 1978.

 

Sr. Patricia was well prepared to generously share her gifts in the ministries to which she aspired.

She graduated from Madonna College in 1953,  and continued her education at the University of Detroit, University of Ottawa, at Mercy Catholic Medical Center in Philadelphia, and Notre Dame.

From her earliest years, Patricia was drawn to teaching young children.   She was recognized as a top-notch educator in the many elementary schools in which she taught in Detroit, Grand Rapids, Saginaw and Muskegon.

 

Pat was considered an educational leader not only Our Lady Help of Christians in Detroit and Holy Spirit in Grand Rapids where she served as principal,  but in several other areas.   She conducted math and phonics workshops for teachers and supervised their implementation.   Patricia spent many summers teaching at and supervising the reading clinic at Madonna University    She was also hired to revise many phonetic and reading materials for the Michigan Reading Association.

 

For some 30 years, Patricia loved her role as teacher and friend to hundreds of children – at one time she had 72 youngsters in the second grade.  Nevertheless, in the early 80’s Patricia began to pursue studies to minister to the elderly,  especially those in poor health.   She earned her Clinical Pastoral Education certification at St. Francis Medical Center in LaCrosse, WI and was also certified  for pastoral care by the National Association of Catholic Chaplains.

 

Patricia began using her new education and formation  when, in 1981, she became the Pastoral Associate Director at Mercy Hospital in Port Huron.  The pain and suffering she encountered daily moved her often to pray her favorite psalm and share it with the patients,  “The Lord is my Shepherd;  there is nothing I shall want.”  Psalm 23

 

In 1985 Patricia accepted a full-time position as the Director of Pastoral Care at Bon Secours Nursing Center in St. Clair Shores where she established the department.   Here she provided spiritual care, ecumenical services, grief counseling and group presentations to staff, patients and family members.

Patricia’s  prior studies in gerontology, hospice, and ministry to people in crisis  were used extensively and highly regarded by the Institute.  Patricia also established a broad-based volunteer program involving people from all over the area.   She often remarked “Only together were we able to accomplish all that we did here.” 

 

Patricia also brought her special concern and care to each member of  the Servants of Jesus.   It was most fitting that she was always of an active member of the Community Life committee where she shared thoughtful gifts, birthday cakes, messages, fun card games and interest in each Sister and her family.  Little Pat, as she was affectionately called, loved to read, tell stories of the children and patients in her care,  help with SJ publications,  and cheer on the Detroit sports teams – especially the Red Wings. 

 

Her gifts of the heart were easily recognized by those with whom Patricia lived and ministered.   One of the Sisters of Mercy who was Patricia’s supervisor described her as a “non-threatening,  amiable person who listens attentively to others;   she is relaxed with people, at ease in stressful situations and has an exquisite sensitivity to others’ needs.”     In another instance, the wife of a very unhappy gentleman praised Patricia for his total change of attitude.  She quotes him “She works very hard, that little nun and is certainly the heart of this place.”

 

After her retirement in the mid-90’s, Sr. Patricia continued to live the mission of the Servants of Jesus to bring compassion to the needy and hope to the downtrodden.  Her visits to the homebound, hospitals and nursing homes brought joy and prayerful trust to people.  She also engaged in a telephone and letter ministry – always remembering how these gestures cheered seniors and those suffering illness.

 

Patricia has been cremated and interred at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Detroit.    The Servants of Jesus, Patricia’s family and friends will celebrate her almost-90 years of life with  a Memorial Mass at St. Sabina Church in Dearborn Heights on January 21 and 11 a.m.   Rev. Edward Zaorski, friend of Sr. Patricia’s will celebrate the Liturgy.  Luncheon will follow at the Parish Hall.   Anyone wishing to remember Sr. Patricia with a memorial is asked to consider the Servants of Jesus Retirement Fund or a charity of their choice.

 

Well done,  our dear little Pat.   You know that your Redeemer lives and will welcome you to Paradise!