By Sister Mary McHale
At the end of October, 2019, Sister Pat Smith, a Sister of St. Joseph of Massachusetts, U.S., spent a few days with us here in Houston, visiting our Motherhouse, and the many sisters she had met or spent time with in Kenya. At the age of 25 Sr. Pat first went to Kenya and spent 42 years of her religious life ministering there. She also served briefly in Tanzania and South Sudan.
During her early days in Kenya she taught Home Economics in a Secondary School, and she soon branched out working with women’s development groups in rural areas in western Kenya. As time went on she prepared to be a spiritual director and a retreat facilitator. We have known Pat for over fifteen years as she ministered part time with us at Ukarimu Centre helping on a team to prepare two groups of spiritual directors over a period of six years. She also worked with our Postulants and other groups in formation in the Molo area, teaching classes on Women in Sacred Scripture, Personal Development, Arts and Crafts as well as staying several times with the Postulants and once with the Novices while the Professed Sisters were at Chapter. She helped facilitate several of our regional meetings and our last International Vocation/ Formation meeting in Kenya. She directed many of our Sisters on retreat at Mwangaza Retreat Centre in Nairobi, and some Sisters on their 30 day retreat as they prepared for Perpetual Profession of vows. She was and is a wonderful friend and resource to many of us.
Pat had heard about Villa de Matel and our beginnings in Galveston for many years and at last got a chance to visit us if only briefly; she enjoyed seeing all those she had met and known and we were happy to have had her visit. All who had known her and met her for the first time were touched by her simplicity and joy. Pat asks for our continued prayer for her and her congregation as she now serves on their Leadership Team.
We used always say our two congregations – the Sisters of St. Joseph, and Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word are related on the Father’s side!