Sister Patricia Kelly, M.S.B.T., died April 13 at her order’s motherhouse in Philadelphia, at age 83.
A native of Scranton, Pa., Sister Patricia was a member of her community’s lay branch, Missionary Cenacle Apostolate, for two years before she entered the Missionary Servants of the Most Blessed Trinity in August 1963.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Marywood College and a master’s degree in social work from the Catholic University of America.
In the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Sister Patricia served at Holy Redeemer School in Philadelphia, archdiocesan Catholic Social Services and parish social ministry in Philadelphia, Chester and Montgomery counties, in particular as administrator of parish outreach for St. Philip Neri Parish in Pennsburg.
In 2017 Sister Patricia retired from Catholic Social Services and continued to serve as a volunteer in the Levittown and Bensalem offices.
She also served in the Baltimore Archdiocese and in Alabama, New Jersey and Puerto Rico. In 2018, she was honored to be recognized by Pope Francis in the form of the Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice.
In an interview about her parish outreach ministry, Sister Patricia said, “People come to the parish for more than they used to, things like counseling, bereavement care, financial needs. They see the parish as a resource and it’s very important when they come that we help them in somewhat or at least direct them to where they can go for help.
“A large part of parish social ministry is the recruitment of volunteers and the empowerment of the laity for the various ministries in the parish.”
Regarding the recruitment of volunteers for the parish, Sister Patricia said, “The parish is where the people are, and it is the most natural place for us to respond to our baptismal call to serve each other.”
Having entered religious life in 1963, Sister Patricia said she “never thought I was made for a religious vocation until I met these women” – the Missionary Servants of the Most Blessed Trinity. “Their way of life called me into a relationship with Jesus Christ, because it finally made sense to me that if you truly love God, you are going to serve his people.”
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