Our Sister, Patty Ann

There is a face around campus whose smile has comforted students in times of mourning, in times of struggle, and in times of confusion. Behind this face there is a history of service and charity. This face belongs to Sister Patty Ann, a Daughter of Charity and the liturgy coordinator at St. John’s.

For 10 years Sister Patty Ann has been an integral part of Campus Ministry on the Queens campus. She oversees mass, trains lecturers, altar servers and ministers, and coordinates bereavement groups, prayer groups, and a Bible reflection group.

Sister Patty Ann was first involved in Campus Ministry at Niagara University. She then spent six years on the Staten Island campus of St. John’s before moving to the Queens campus in 1996.

A Queens Village native, Sister Patty Ann first made the choice to become a Daughter of Charity when she was attending St. Joseph’s College. Daughters of Charity Worldwide follow the example of St. Vincent DePaul, dedicating their lives to the poor and inspiring others to live a life of prayer and service. The Daughters of Charity have been working in schools, hospitals, social agencies, and parishes for more than 300 years.

Sister Patty Ann not only comforts those students and faculty members who have lost a loved one, but she also represents the University at wakes and funerals, and plans a bereavement mass each year. This special mass invites family members of those who have passed to come to church to remember their lost loved ones. Regardless of their faith, no one is forgotten.
Pam Shea-Byrnes, vice president of University Ministry and University Events, admires Sister Patty Ann for her involvement in bereavement programs at St. John’s.

“Sister Patty Ann is the face of St. John’s for those who are grieving,” Shea-Byrnes said. “She extends the love of this University, and feels privileged to bring God’s love into every situation. I admire her tremendously; she does what needs to be done whatever it is. The bereavement mass she plans each year is beautiful and is one of the most valuable things she does.”

St. John’s Director of Faith Formation and Liturgy, Steve DeBlasio, said that besides overseeing the liturgical ministers program, Sister Patty Ann is also very supportive in the entire Campus Ministry program, often attending retreats or supporting other Campus Ministry events.

“Our Campus Ministry program is strong today because of her involvement,” he said. “She’s just wonderful.”

Sister Patty Ann not only does her job in Campus Ministry with great care, but she also takes great joy out of the work she does with the group. The Campus Ministry event that has had the most impact on her over the past 10 years, she said, was the dedication of St. Thomas More Church in 2004.

She smiled from ear to ear as she recalled the day when students and faculty members painted concerns and special intentions on rocks, and then placed them in the ground where the altar of St. Thomas More is now. “It was like we grew with the church,” she said.

It is important for students at St. John’s to be involved and to be of service to the church, Sister Patty Ann said.

“They are the future of our church,” she explained.

“Participating in service activities, going on retreat, and attending mass will prepare them for their futures.”

Campus Ministry provides students with several weekly opportunities to volunteer in the community, and provides a student mass in St. Thomas More Church every Sunday evening. Also, at least four annual retreats, two in the fall and two in the spring, are available to students.

“Going on retreat is a great way for students to meet each other, especially since so many come here alone from high school,” Sister Patty Ann said.

No matter where she is or what she is doing, Sister Patty Ann is a vital part of the Vincentian mission at St. John’s and will continue to reach out to and inspire students and faculty members alike.

Amy Pedagno, a sophomore actively involved in Campus Ministry, expressed her admiration for Sister Patty Ann.
“Sister Patty Ann was an integral part of my transition into St. John’s Campus Ministry and she is a wonderful role model,” Pedagno said.

Her smiling face and kind heart assure the members of the University community that every person has someone to love them and look after them; everyone has a sister in Sister Patty Ann.