April 11, 1935 – March 12, 2015
Today the church celebrates Laetare Sunday, the fourth Sunday of Lent. The word Laetare in Latin, means rejoice. The church views today as a day of celebration…Rejoice with joy, you that have been in sorrow.
And sorrow is what we have been experiencing these past few days as Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston particularly here at the Motherhouse. One that we dearly loved was taken suddenly from us. Shock for all that learned of the death of Sister Pat Hogan last Thursday morning. However as faith filled people we know that Pat is now rejoicing with joy… her sorrow (illness) has passed away.
The day before she died, Pat visited me in my office sharing the medical news she had just received. Our conversation moved toward her future. After a while she said, “I am not afraid to die, however, I am frightened when I think of when will I die, and how will my death take place”. Pat was attempting to handle her illness, but had great anxiety about her final days. I believe God was in my office that day and heard Pat’s words. So, it was in the early morning on Thursday, March 12th, our compassionate God reached out for Pat- silently, quickly, lovingly and took her to her eternal place. Today as the Church manifests a spirit of rejoicing, so we too, tonight, should rejoice that Sister Patricia Hogan will have no more fears or anxiety but now is enjoying eternal tranquility with God.
In an essay written by Pat’s brother, Francis (Bud), he wrote, “There was much elation in the Hogan household when Pat announced she wanted to become a nun. It was thought that Part would be a Sister of Notre Dame since they taught her in high school. Her Mother was afraid she would be a Maryknoll Sister. But no, her love was the Sisters of St. Joseph“. On September 8, 1953 Patricia Hogan, left the city of Lynn, her parents, brother and sister and entered the Sisters of St. Joseph in Framingham with other women to become the Party of 1953.
Eager to begin her life as a woman religious and accomplish ministerial work Sister Jean Francis (Pat Hogan)’s ministry as an elementary teacher was in the field of education teaching within the Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Boston. However, after her first teaching position in Boston, Pat accepted the invitation from the Congregation and was missioned to a new elementary school that was being staffed by the Congregation in Santa Rosa, New Mexico. Though private by nature, she possessed a humorous, dry wit and personality to enjoy life and was a delight to her religious community in each convent she was missioned. In 1969 Pat joined other Sisters of St. Joseph at our mission school in San Ricardo, Peru, as a member of the faculty. Acknowledging that Pat was a quiet, reserved person, this move to South America was a surprise to her friends and her family. I wonder if in those years in discerning the decision to go to Peru that Pat in her prayer life had internalized our CSJ Constitution to “move toward profound love of God and the dear neighbor without distinction”.
For Sister Jean Francis (Pat Hogan) life at San Ricardo School was both a joy and a challenging experience. I do believe however, every Peruvian child or parent Sister Pat served received abundantly from her to assist them in their daily life. Enriching herself through college educational courses, Sister Pat Hogan was recognized as a competent teacher. Returning to Boston in 1971, Sister Pat ventured into other classrooms in the Boston area, as well as fulfilling the role as a Religious Educational Director, continuously striving to educate the children under her care, and inspiring the children towards becoming the persons God created them to be. Sister Pat’s skills as a reading/ second language teacher helped young students until 2011, particularly at St. Columkille School, where she was honored for her dedication and twenty years of service to the tradition of excellence at St. Columkille School. Sister Pat was a colleague who was greatly loved, and respected by both faculty and students there.
In the Gospel of today’s liturgy we hear Jesus declaring that He has” prepared a place” for us. Although Sister Patricia Hogan was concerned about the uncertainty of when she would be offered her heavenly place, she trusted God’s promise to “come back and take you with me”. Pat was a woman of deep prayer. She knew her God, and was alert to God’s presence to her. Often she told me she was not afraid to die. She believed that God would hold her gently and companion her each day she lived. The words of Isaiah, “Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one, in whom I delight” were very familiar to her.
The words of Jesus,” I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” were words that Sister Patricia Hogan internalized in her unique, obscure way. I imagined she confided to God her innermost fears and dreams, even though she sometimes left statements unspoken to us that were sacred to her. However, her gentle smile and positive manner made us all feel gratified that we encountered and spoke with her. Sister Pat evoked sentiments of compassion, kindness humility to us, virtues that St. Paul expressed in his letter to the Colossians. She also showed us how to “put on love”.
We give thanks to God for the gift of Sister Patricia Hogan (Sister Jean Francis) as a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph for these 61 years. We thank the Hogan family for their willingness to consent for their daughter, Patricia, to answer God’s call to be a Sister of St. Joseph of Boston. Pat’s death is a great loss, a loss for her brother Francis (Bud) and the members of the Hogan family, for all of us in our Congregation, and for her many friends. Nevertheless, how could we not rejoice with Sister Patricia Hogan on this Laetare Sunday, for she is now receiving the peace and joy and the reward of eternal life.
Sister Gail Donahue, CSJ