Sister Patricia (Hildegarde) Marshall, O.S.B.

October 15, 1914 – October 17, 2008

Sister Patricia (Hildegarde) Marshall, O.S.B., 94, a Benedictine Sister of Mount St. Scholastica, Atchison, Kans., died at the monastery Oct. 17, 2008. A vigil service will be Sunday, Oct. 19, 2008, at 7 pm in the monastery chapel, and the Mass of Resurrection will be offered there Monday, Oct. 20, at 10:30 am. Burial will be in the monastery cemetery.

Sister Patricia Marshall%2C OSBSister Patricia was the oldest of eight children of William Wood and Helen McAnany Marshall of Kansas City. After attending Mount St. Scholastica Academy, she entered the Benedictine Sisters in 1933 and made monastic profession in 1934. Degrees in French and library science from Mount St. Scholastica College and The Catholic University of America formed her early academic background which was enriched by further study and foreign travel. Much of her teaching career was spent at Lillis High School and Penn Valley Community College, Kansas City, Mo.; at St. Joseph High School, Shawnee, and Donnelly College, Kansas City, Kans. She spent four years in Mexico City, Mexico, teaching at the Colegio Guadalupe, an endeavor sponsored by the Mount community. She also taught at Benet Hill and at National College, Colorado Springs, Colo., at Seneca, Kans., and at Bishop LeBlond, St. Joseph, Mo.

She was director and teacher in the English as a Second Language (One World) program at Donnelly College, and included many practical aspects of life in the United States in her work and travel with students from many countries. After she retired, she was community librarian for several years. 

Sister Patricia was preceded in death by her parents, by her brothers Manfield, Paul, David, and Ted, and by her sister Jane (Mrs. G.A. Swanick). She is survived by her brother MacCay III; by her sister Faith (Mrs. E.F. Anderson), of Tucson, Arizona; by nieces, nephews, cousins, and by her monastic family.

Memorials may be sent to Mount St. Scholastica. 

Let us remember her gratefully in our prayers. 

S. Patricia's memorial card

"I thank you for your faithfulness and love.”
Ps. 138

On October 17, 2008, our beloved Sister Patricia Marshall went peacefully to God. She met with smiling resignation the frailty of her later years after a life active in teaching, administration, and travel. Born to William Wood and Helen McAnany Marshall of Kansas City, she was the oldest of five brothers and two sisters. She entered the Mount community in January, 1933, after graduating from Mount St. Scholastica Academy, and made monastic profession in 1934. Academic degrees in library science and in French at Mount St. Scholastica College and the Catholic University prepared her for more than forty years of teaching ministry. She alternated teaching and library work at Lillis High School and Penn Valley Community College, Kansas City, Mo; St. Joseph High School and Donnelly College, Kansas City, Kans.; and at Colegio Guadalupe in Mexico City. Sister Pat (as she was known) had a high regard for students from other countries, aware of their need as “strangers in a strange land” to learn a new language and culture while respecting their own heritage. She championed her students’ professional and personal development, and directed and accompanied their foreign travel. A great reader, she shared with her sisters her interest in nature, beauty and Irish songs. She saw change as an opportunity for growth. Her friends will long remember her smiling question, “What are you reading now?” Let us remember her gratefully in prayer.

Reflection given at the Vigil Service 

by Marcia Ziska, OSB

Readings: Isaiah 43:1-5a; 1 Peter 1:3-7, 8b-9: Luke 12:32-36

Tonight we gather, just four days after Sister Pat’s 94th birthday, to bid our farewell and to express to God our gratitude for the gift of her wonderful life. We gather to offer comfort to her family whom she loved — her youngest brother, Mac and his wife Bonnie, her sister Faith who is unable to be here with us, her many nieces, nephews, and cousins. We also gather to offer sympathy and prayerful support to them and to us, her community, remembering Sister Mary David, Sister Rosaria, her longtime friend and Dooley Center companion as well as Sister Sienna, her remaining classmate of 74 years. 

Sister Pat died peacefully in the early hours of Friday morning after a short vigil of sisters gathering by her side, praying, singing, spending time with her. In the words of the gospel writer Luke, she was “dressed for action” in a pretty pink gown, “lamps lit” and “waiting for her master to return” and bid her come home! She seemed unafraid, having been “tested by fire” in the final years of her life in Dooley. We pray she is now enjoying her new birth in Christ and the inheritance promised by both her baptism and her monastic profession of nearly 75 years.

Sister Pat was the first of eight children of Wood Marshall and Helen Gertrude McAnany. Her mother, an Academy graduate, loved the Mount and thus Pat came to the Mount as a young girl to be educated in a similar fashion. It was perhaps in this atmosphere of the Benedictine sisters that Pat heard the words proclaimed in our first reading from the prophet Isaiah, “ I have called you by name, you are mine.” Feeling God’s claim on her life, she prepared her family for her entrance into the community soon after her high school graduation. Sister Pat told her youngest brother, “you won’t be seeing me.” Mac recalls saying, “not never?” to which Pat replied, “you can come and visit me.” And the Marshall family did just that – driving to Atchison on numerous occasions– for in the words of Isaiah, she was “precious and honored” as a daughter and a big sister and they loved her dearly.

Sister Pat was a lover of life and enjoyed having a good time. She was proud of her Irish heritage and yearly celebrated her patronal feast of St. Patrick with the wearing of green, a party and singing, listening to Irish songs. A beautiful woman, physically attractive, she stood tall and commanded respect by her very presence. The majority of her professional life was spent as librarian and/or teacher. She was both director and teacher of the English as a Foreign Language program at Donnelly College and an EFL instructor at Penn Valley Community College. Adhering to the gospel message, “do not be afraid,” she instilled confidence in her students, helping them feel more comfortable and at home in a new culture. She was generous with her time and extremely kind and gracious to them.

A woman of adventure and learning, her list of hobbies included reading and travel. With a keen interest in foreign civilizations, cultures and archaeology, she studied French in Quebec and traveled in Eastern Canada, supervised LeBlond students to Western Europe, spent four years in Mexico City teaching English and in the summer of 1979 traveled to Portugal, Spain and Tangiers. Upon her retirement from active ministry in Kansas City, her interest in world and current events never wavered. Before being a resident herself in Dooley Center, she conducted weekly current events sessions with our older sisters. Up until her days of dementia she looked forward to receiving the National Geographic, the Arizona Highways, and the Readers Digest, gifts from her family as well as reading a good biography from the library.

The gospel states that “where your treasure is, there your heart will be.” Sister Pat’s treasure was her family — the Marshall family and we, her Benedictine family. God called her by name as a young woman and she responded in a life of fidelity to the monastic rhythm of daily prayer and Eucharist. Let us be grateful for her homecoming and rejoice that she is now experiencing the warm embrace of the God for whom she sang and made music.

She appreciated nature and the outdoors and when she was able she would roll her wheel chair outside with Sister Rosaria or a Dooley employee as her companion. Whether autumn, spring or summer, Pat would invariably return with a bouquet of flowers, dandelions included, or a single rose, a colorful leaf, giving praise to God for the beauty of creation. She was concerned about matters of health She loved to swim and recorded dancing as a past hobby. When I served on the Dooley Board I received a letter from her asking the board to consider a lap pool or a jakuzi for the sisters to get exercise and maintain their health.