Sister Patricia Carr

Pat was born in Wollongong in January 1931, the eldest of four, there being three girls and one boy in the family. Perhaps being the eldest taught her from her earliest years to be reliable and aware of the needs of others ~ qualities attested to by those who knew her well.

After leaving school, Pat decided to make nursing her career, and, since the family had moved to Bathurst, she trained at St Vincent’s Hospital there. Some time later she responded to the call to enter religious life, joining the Sisters of Charity on 2nd February 1956.

After profession, she was appointed to St Joseph’s Hospital, Auburn, where she found herself in charge of a ward, and then to the Accident and Emergency Unit. Only a few weeks ago she was reflecting on the time and commented on how difficult she found those years. She had been trained at a small country hospital and discovered very quickly that she did not have all the skills the doctors expected. But, in typical fashion, she persevered in her role, learning as quickly as she could. It must have been with relief that she found herself appointed to Bathurst for a year!

Then it was off to Melbourne for the next 35 years. She loved her time at Caritas Christi, Kew, where she accepted the role of Tutor Sister. I could well imagine how thorough would have been the training she gave those young women.

When her increasing disabilities forced her to relinquish that task, she moved to the Outpatients at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne. Sister Marie Bernadette shared with me some of her memories of Pat’s work there.

“She was just so lovely with people, taking an interest in them and doing what she could for them ~ including pushing people in wheelchairs, despite her own crippled hands.”

The staff told Marie Bernadette they sometimes offered to do it for her but she would have none of that. Many of the Outpatients still ask about Sister Patricia, such an impression did she make by her obvious love for them. Several Sisters who worked with Pat, highlighted the tremendous love she had for people ~ and how that love was reciprocated. She was even described as a “lame dog’s friend”. These Sisters also remarked on Pat’s ability to form lasting friendships. One in particular recalled by them ~ a woman Pat befriended through a choir, and who in turn joined the Catholic Church.

When Pat could no longer walk to Outpatients, she assumed the role of hospitality at home ~ providing cups of tea and a friendly welcome to visitors. She was always delighted to be asked to do whatever lay in her power including keeping up-to-date a list of names, addresses and phone numbers of benefactors to the Hospital ~ no mean task. Then too began her apostolate of the telephone whereby she kept in touch with many friends. 

Sister Patricia died on 16th June 2003.