Patricia Ann Dwyer, CND
Sister Patricia Ann Dwyer
Congregation de Notre-Dame
(S.S. Theresa Eileen)
Father: Richard Dwyer
Mother: Theresa Maloney
Birth: June 19, 1941, Manhattanville, NY, USA
Baptism: July 13, 1941, Church of the Annunciation, Manhattanville, NY, USA
Entrance: August 28, 1960, Bourbonnais, IL, USA
Clothing: March 1, 1961, Bourbonnais, IL, USA
Profession: September 1, 1962, Bourbonnais, IL, USA
Final Vows: August 14, 1968, Montreal, Canada
Death: July 16, 2009, Jamaica Hospital, Queens, NY, USA
Funeral: July 21, 2009, Villa Notre Dame Chapel, Wilton, CT, USA
Burial: December 11, 2009, St. Peter Cemetery, Danbury, CT, USA
“I am a hole in a flute that the Christ’s breath moves through. Listen to the music. No conflict when the flute is playing—for then I see every movement emanates from God’s holy dance.”
This quote more than adequately illumines the life that Patricia Ann Dwyer lived, especially in the last thirty years. She was born in Manhattan, New York, USA to Theresa and Richard Dwyer in 1941, the eldest of three children. During her eight years of elementary school and two years of high school, she was taught by the Dominican Sisters of Columbus, Ohio, USA. Patricia Ann says that it was a great privilege to be taught by these sisters. She finished her last two years of high school at Saint Jean’s in New York City, and there was taught by the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame. She was immediately impressed by their spirit of charity and unity which she says echoed throughout the school. It was at this time that a lingering idea of entering religious life came to fruition.
In her biography, she says, “I became keenly aware of God’s call to 'Come Follow Me’ in senior year." After working for a year, during which time her desire deepened and the certainty of God’s will was made clear, Patricia Ann entered the Novitiate in August, 1960. She says that she owes a debt of gratitude to Mother Saint Dorothy of the Angels for her firm yet gentle guidance and to the submistresses for their generous devotion of time, energy, and self. All that we are called to do and be in our ministries is all of a piece in bringing our lives to fullness.
Patricia Ann began her ministry to God’s people in the field of education. Her first mission was to Saint Sebastian’s School in Providence, Rhode Island, USA and from there, she was assigned to teach in Saint Gabriel’s School in Stamford, Connecticut, USA. She became the local leader there and later at Saint Cecilia’s, also in Stamford. It was during this time that the Diocese of Bridgeport, becoming aware of a decrease in enrolment in the elementary schools, decided to close some of the Catholic schools in Stamford. In recognition of Patricia Ann’s leadership qualities, she was appointed principal of Saint Mary’s School. In 1978, she became Vice Principal at Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons High School in Schenectady, New York, USA, joining the Counseling Department.
In the early 1970’s, while Sr. Margaret Goldsbury, CND, was our Novice Director, the novitiate moved to our houses in Stamford. And it was during this time that the ministry of spirituality was awakened in Patricia Ann. She joined the team at Our Lady of Peace Spiritual Life Center in Narragansett, Rhode Island, USA in 1979 where she ministered until 1990. To enhance her skills in spiritual direction, she studied at the Institute of Spirituality and Worship in Berkeley, California, USA in 1983. From this experience, Patricia Ann began her ministry as a spiritual director, supervisor of spiritual directors, co-director of a two-month internship program at Saint Ignatius Retreat Center on Long Island, USA and team member at the Center for Spirituality and Justice in the Bronx, and New Rochelle, New York, USA. Other areas of ministry included Wholistic Spirituality and cross-cultural dimensions, dream tending, facilitation and MBTI consultation. She served six years as President for Spiritual Directors International Coordinating Council. For twenty-one years Patricia Ann was a consultant in forming the Spiritual Directors Internship in Belize, Central America, a ministry very close to her heart.
In 1996, Patricia Ann was elected to a five-year term as Associate to the Province Leader. The Mass of Christian Burial for Patricia Ann was attended by many—those with whom she ministered and those to whom she ministered—along with her sisters, Eileen LoPerena and Mary Flanagan. Several spoke of their times with her professionally, as a CND community member, as a sister, each with the sense that she had gone from us too soon. No one will forget her unfailing devotion to Margaret Goldsbury during the long months of the latter’s decline. Patricia Ann’s memory lives on gracefully in the hearts of those she touched deeply, through the warmth of her person, and the depth of her wisdom. The Liturgy was a celebration of her life and of her entrance into eternal life. God, in His infinite wisdom, chose to draw her to Himself, a life-long wish of Patricia Ann’s, one that she helped so many to develop.
May she rest in peace. Amen.
Kathleen Murphy, CND
Wilton, Conneticut, USA
Tributes from the Community
Ann supervised my training as a spiritual director and subsequently became my mentor, spiritual director for seventeenyears, and a dear friend. She had a generosity of heart that shared all she had: her talents, her wisdom, her gentleness, her laughter, and her love with everyone she knew. For all the love she gave to me and for all the ways she shaped my ministry, taught me, and imparted her great wisdom, I am forever grateful. I sorely miss her presence but know she continues to love and is waiting to greet me again.
When Patricia Ann, so tastefully dressed and more beautiful in her person, walked into a room, people noticed. And when you spoke to her she was totally engaged with you. Gifted with keen intuition, she could feel even the subtle dynamics in a group. She breathed in and out the Spirit of the Holy One and did so naturally and with such good humor! How we will miss her.
—Miriam Cleary, OSU
I knew Ann at Our Lady of Peace Retreat House in Narragansett, Rhode Island, USA, about twenty years ago. She ran a summer internship in the Directed Retreat. It was an excellent program, and Ann was a fine teacher and supervisor. She will be missed in the field of spiritual direction.
—Marise May, OSF
It was a true joy to have known Sister Patricia Ann for many years, as she was my wife's sister. Patricia, as we knew her at home, will always be remembered by the gentleness and cheerfulness of her laughter. She always shared a very warm spiritual generosity with all she knew and she will be sorely missed.