2014 Jubilarian – Patricia (Rosaire) Cassidy

Cassidy, PatriciaSister Patricia was born in Detroit, the ninth child in her family. Three of her siblings died in infancy. During the Great Depression, her mother died. Sister Pat was only 6 years old.

“It’s amazing how Dad managed during this trying time,” she reflects. “He was a peaceful man with a kindly nature and a fantastic sense of humor, which helped him cope with the rough times. My two sisters and three brothers were sources of great love and support.”

Sister Pat was taught by the Dominican Sisters at St. Theresa Elementary School in Detroit. Her father remarried in 1943, and when Sister Pat finished eighth grade, the family moved to her stepmother’s home in Gesu Parish. “As there was no high school nearby, in the fall, I was enrolled in St. Mary Academy, where I received an excellent education.

“Although I’m sure my aunt, Sister Margaret Alice Cassidy, IHM, was praying for me, and some of my teachers too, thoughts of a religious vocation didn’t surface until my junior or senior year in high school.”

She joined the IHM community shortly after graduation, and at reception, received the name Sister Rosaire, in honor of a beloved high school teacher who died during Sister Pat’s senior year. As a postulant and novice her “closeness to God grew.”

Anyone is a disguise for God.
-William J. O'Malley, SJ

Sister Pat earned a bachelor’s degree from Marygrove College and a master’s degree in art education from Wayne State University. She remembers sketching on a street corner by Wayne State in her long habit and feeling like she belonged in the Historical Museum!

For almost 50 years, she ministered in Catholic education in many Michigan schools and also spent eight years teaching at St. Felicitas in Chicago. Although she taught most of the standard subjects, she especially enjoyed teaching art and creative writing.

Even 50 or 60 years later, she is still in touch with some of her former students. Sister Pat fondly recalls one of her former Holy Redeemer students who had a great physical challenge. From him, she learned acceptance and courage and says, “He taught me more than I probably ever taught him.”

Her art skills came in handy for coming up with creative designs for bulletin boards, and Sister Pat often swapped sewing chores with some of the other sisters in exchange for decorating their classrooms’ bulletin boards. This worked out well following Vatican II when alterations were needed as many of the sisters changed out of the long habits!

Sister Pat is an avid writer (especially letters) and considers her “ministry of the pen” to be a vital part of who she is. Her article titled, “Down to Earth with the Saints,” was published in an early religious journal.

“God has been so lavish in blessings!” Sister Pat notes. “The promised ‘hundredfold’ has surely grown to a million-fold! Life, family, vocation, IHM community, students, friends are the precious treasures for which I thank God with all my heart!”