In Memory

Sister Patricia Ann Matthews, IHM

March 10, 1940 – February 19, 2008

Patricia Ann Matthews, IHM

Sister Patricia Ann Matthews, IHM, of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on Tuesday, February 19, 2008, at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton. She was formerly known as Sister M. Theodosia.

She was born on March 10, 1940, in Scranton, the daughter of the late Charles R. and Carmeada Rowland Matthews. She entered the IHM Congregation on September 8, 1960, and made her temporary profession of vows on June 26, 1963, and her final profession of vows on June 26, 1968.

During her first years in the IHM Congregation, she served as a high school teacher at Bishop Guilfoyle High School in Altoona from 1965 to 1966; and at St. Mary High School in Manhasset, N.Y., from 1966 to 1968.

She attended Douglas College at Rutgers University prior to entering the convent. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in social science from Marywood College and a Master of Arts degree in political science from St. John’s University.

After earning her doctoral degree in American Government from St. John’s University, Sister Patricia served Marywood University for more than 35 years. She began her career at Marywood as a political science instructor. She was later named chairperson of both the undergraduate and graduate departments of social sciences; dean of the Undergraduate School; and, from 1986 to 2006, vice president for academic affairs.

During her faithful service, she guided the academic affairs division through significant advancements and changes. She positioned the Marywood library to be among the first in the region to automate. She was also instrumental in the formation of two doctoral degree programs and she played a lead role in the reorganization of Marywood from a college to a university in 1997 and the subsequent restructuring of the university into four distinct colleges in 2003.

In 2001, Sister Patricia was named chief academic officer of the year by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC), after being nominated and selected by the chief academic officers of the 490 institutions represented by the CIC.

Her belief that each person can make a difference formed her pedagogy as a teacher. Her passion for justice, her wisdom and faith, and her practice of effective problem solving played an integral role in the transformation of Marywood from a liberal arts women’s college to a comprehensive coeducational university and a premier Catholic institution of higher learning.

She was a widely respected educator, scholar, consultant, and lecturer on higher education, including teaching, academic administration, professional development, gender issues, outcome assessment, and strategic planning.

Since her retirement as vice president of academic affairs in 2006, she continued to serve Marywood University as assistant to the president for Special Projects.

During the past year of her declining health until the time of her death she served as a prayer minister at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton.

She is survived by a sister, Carmeada Gogal and husband, John, of Lebanon, N.J.; and three brothers, Rowland of Newfoundland, Kirk and wife, Joan, of Germantown, Tenn., and Lee C. of Clinton, N.J; nieces and nephews. She is also survived by her faithful friend, Sister Gail Cabral, IHM, of Scranton.

The funeral will be Saturday, February 23 at 9:00 a.m. with Mass of Christian Burial at the IHM Center, 2300 Adams Avenue in Scranton. Interment will be at St. Catherine Cemetery, Moscow. Friends may call at the Marian Chapel, Swartz Center for Spiritual Life, on the campus of Marywood University, 2300 Adams Avenue in Scranton on Friday, February 22, between 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. A prayer service will be held at 4:30 p.m. during the wake service.

Memorial contributions may be made to support the retired IHM Sisters c/o the IHM Sisters Retirement Fund, IHM Center, 2300 Adams Avenue, Scranton, PA 18509 or in support of the Sister Patricia Ann Matthews, IHM, Ph.D. Endowed Scholarship, Marywood University, c/o the Development Office, 2300 Adams Avenue, Scranton, PA 18509.

Reprinted from “In Memoriam” section of Journey, Fall 2008 issue

Sister Patricia’s life was marked by loyalty to faith, family and the IHMs. She was educated in public schools in the Scranton area. After three years at Douglas College, Rutgers University, she decided to enter the convent and asked a family friend, then a student at St. Rose High School in Carbondale, where she would enter if she were going to be a sister. The answer was “I’d be an IHM. They’re really nice and they wear blue!”

During her interview with Mother Kathleen, Patricia was informed that it was customary for entering postulants to bring $250 to offset educational expenses. Patricia said that since she was not going to be able to help with the education of her younger siblings, she would not ask her parents for the money. Mother Kathleen said, “I just hope, Patricia, that someday you will be as loyal to us as you are to your family.” All of us IHMs benefited from that bargain! Patricia certainly was a loyal, grateful, and faithful IHM.

Patricia was an enthusiastic and challenging teacher at Bishop Guilfoyle High School in Altoona, at St, Mary’s High School in Manhasset, and after her doctoral studies were completed, at Marywood College. She became dean of the Undergraduate School in 1978, and then served as vice-president for Academic Affairs for 20 years. She used her superb problem-solving abilities, her openness to innovation, and her warmth and concern for faculty, staff and students in a unique and engaging way. She loved this work; it was for her a challenging and fulfilling way to carry out the IHM mission.

She was also a great and faithful friend, as I know well; many others also knew her great and open heart. May we, like Patricia, pray for grateful hearts and daring spirits as we celebrate her life, and God’s fidelity to her.

by Sr. Gail Cabral, IHM

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