Sr Marie Pattison rsj RIP (formally Sr Borgia)
Sr Marie Pattison rsj died peacefully in Canterbury Hospital on 25th November. Sr Marie was in the 69th year of her Religious Profession and had lived in Cardinal Freeman Village, Ashfield for the last fifteen years. She ministered previously in many places in the Diocese (both as an Infants and Secondary teacher), spent a year in Tasmania, was a Pastoral Care Worker at the Mater Hospital (where she showed great compassion and was very highly regarded), a volunteer at the Mary MacKillop Shrine and Museum at North Sydney, and a liver of the gospel at Cardinal Freeman village.
Marie was born in Baradine in 1925 - the youngest of five children. Her father was killed in a timber accident when Marie was only four. The family moved to Sydney and Marie came to St Joseph’s at Perthville for her secondary education. Her sister, Veronica preceded her into religious life here at Perthville and to Heaven – they are now buried side-by-side in the sisters’ cemetery at Perthville.
One of Marie’s happiest times was her time of teaching at Portland. She loved being a Secondary teacher and she loved the Portland students, sisters and priests. She was a very bright and intelligent woman: when the Wyndham Scheme meant that we had to learn practical Science she was in her element. She loved to collect rock specimens for geology and to think up new experiments - she was excited by the challenge of it all.
Marie loved Sport and was a one-eyed supporter of the Manly Sea Eagles. In her earlier years at Cardinal Freeman she would phone Ray Hadley on his Sport session on Saturday afternoon - and he would put her to air (calling her Sr Marie) and she would give her take on the football (especially Manly) for the weekend.
She was aware of world news and she could converse on many subjects. She was forthright in her opinions, would speak very clearly about her wishes, and state her intentions quite firmly.
Marie was interested in the Sisters at all times and kept abreast of happenings within the Congregation. She was often lonely for Perthville and truly found it a cross that she could not (for medical reasons) be with the Sisters in the Bathurst Diocese. Marie suffered a lot in her later years – being a frequent patient in hospital, but she didn’t complain about anything. Rather, she seemed patient and contented with her lot. She loved nature, especially the lavender and azalea bushes outside her room and she appreciated receiving flowers from her visitors.
Although Marie did spend much of her time in her room, she reached out to others in the milieu in which she lived. The staff at Cardinal Freeman loved her: in fact the Manager, Angelica, told us that she always asked Marie to speak at Accreditation because she spoke so positively of the Hostel and was so articulate. Marie was a friend to many of the carers – and they to her. One of them was enrolled in the RCIA programme in her parish last year and would come to Marie regularly to discuss the lessons and what she was learning. As her carer said, ‘Marie taught me to be free and strong in my faith’. Marie herself had gained great freedom in her faith from her year at Assumption Institute in Melbourne in 1976.
In the week before Marie died, one of the Sisters was speaking to her about her being 87 years old. Marie was not a demonstrative person about her faith, but in response she said simply – 87 years and it’s all been for God. That sums up Marie’s attitude to her life – it was lived with no fuss, in a straightforward manner, in simplicity and faith - she bloomed where she was planted. She appeared to live a hidden life for the last fifteen years at Cardinal Freeman Village – but it did not go unnoticed and she touched many people.
May she rest in peace.