Sister Patricia Coakley, OSB

 

December 31,1897- July 5, 1999

 

 

“When Irish eyes are smiling,
Sure it’s like a mornin’ spring
In the lilt of Irish laughter
You can hear the angels sing.”

 

S-Patricia-CoakleySister Patricia was born in Enid, Oklahoma on New Years Eve, 1897, she entered religious life at Mount St. Scholastica in Atchison, Kansas. She professed her final vows on August 15, 1924, and was a charter member of Benet Hill Monastery in Colorado Springs. She spent 70 years of her long and productive life as a Benedictine.

 

Sister Patricia received her secondary and college education from Mount St. Scholastica Academy and College in Atchison. She received a teaching certificate from Adams State College in Alamosa and a BA in English from the University of Denver. She was a junior high school teacher, principal and a school librarian, serving the needs of communities in Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, and Colorado. She was librarian for Benet Hill Academy in Colorado Springs.

 

In 1961, “Sister Patty” (as she was affectionately called by members of the Benet Hill community), was responsible for preparing living and worship space for 77 sisters who would be transferring from Atchison, KS to Colorado Springs. Along with Sister Albertine, she turned the expansive, white mansion which had been the San Luis School for Girls into a house of love, service, and prayer in time for the other sisters’ arrival. A woman of rare talents, sparkling blue eyes, and an Irish wit to beat the devil himself, Sister Patricia danced an Irish jig on her l00th birthday with a laurel of sparkly green shamrocks in her beautiful white hair. When asked by local television media the following year how she managed to live so long, she replied, “I do what I want!”

 

The true nature of her incredible life, however, surfaced during another more serious interview when she spoke about acceptance and carrying out God’s will as the way to true happiness. The quick ready wit of her answers, the love and acceptance of her God, and the happiness it brought to her, and consequently to all those who knew her, will always be remembered.