by Renate Reichs
In September of 2006, Katie Sullivan, Loyola University Magis student, and first coordinator of WISP (the Women’s Ignatian Spirituality Program) sent an email to Sr. Patricia Crowley, Laura Howard, Renate Reichs, Theresa Stanner, Anne Marie Grimberg, John Howard, Bob Stephan (then a Jesuit Scholastic) and Jordan Skarr, another Nagis volunteer, inviting us to a meeting to help pull together the very first ISP women’s team in the country. All of us had been recruited by Fr. Bill Creed, and dutifully showed up for the meeting, which took place at seven pm on a Friday night.
Patsy, with her vast experience of working with people on the margins, was there to “animate and mentor” the team. Although she had many other commitments, and was not able to be on the very first women’s retreat at the Loretto Center in Wheaton in November of 2006, she became heavily involved with the team in 2007 and remained so until the last weeks of her life.
Patsy aided the team in many practical ways, letting us use the Oasis Room at St. Scholastica Monastery for follow up retreat days and team meetings and providing hospitality in the true Benedictine tradition. She coordinated the collection of journals for the retreatants, provided housing for art supplies and prayer shawls in her garage, was a leader on overnight retreats, and was always available to sub when a weekly spiritual reflection group needed a co-leader; in fact, she took great joy in doing so.
Patsy, however, was so much more than the sum of her activities. She was the solid, center core of the program, and in many ways, it grew up around her. We will miss her physical presence, but I have no doubt that her animating spirit will continue to mentor us into the future.
In memory of Sr. Patricia Crowley, OSB, 1939-2923