In Memory

Sister Patricia Stack, IHM

August 21, 1937 – December 29, 2017

Sister Patricia Stack, IHM, (formerly known as Sister Richard Marie) of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on Friday, December 29, 2017 at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton.

She was born on August 21, 1937, in Beaver, PA. She was the daughter of the late Richard and Catherine Maxwell Stack. She entered the IHM Congregation on September 8, 1957 and made her temporary profession of vows on March 14, 1960 and her final profession of vows on March 14, 1965.

Sister Patricia served as a teacher in the following schools: St. Rose Elementary School in Carbondale, PA, from 1965 to 1969; Immaculate Conception Elementary School in Scranton, PA, from 1970 to 1972; St. Paul Elementary School in New Bern, NC, from 1972 to 1981; Our Lady of Perpetual Help Elementary School in Rocky Mount, NC, from 1981 to 1984; St. Ann’s Elementary School in New York, NY, from 1984 to 1991; Our Lady of Grace Montessori School in Manhasset, NY, from 1991 to 1996; and Monsignor McHugh Elementary School in Cresco, PA, from 1996 to 2011.

She served as Confraternity of the Christian Doctrine teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Tobyhanna, PA, from 1961 to 1962; kindergarten and CCD teacher at St. Peter’s Parish in Wellsboro, PA, from 1962 to 1963 and 1969 to 1970; and kindergarten and CCD teacher at Resurrection Parish in Muncy, PA, from 1963 to 1965.

Sister Patricia also served as service chaplain at Marian Convent in Scranton, PA, from 1960 to 1961; volunteer at IHM Spiritual Renewal Center in Cresco, PA, from 2011 to 2012; volunteer at IHM Friends of Carbondale in Carbondale, PA, from 2012 to 2017; and office assistant at Catholic Social Services in Carbondale, PA, from 2016 to 2017.

From March until the time of her death, Sister Patricia served as a prayer minister at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton.

She received a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education and Master of Science degree in reading from Marywood College.

She is preceded in death by two brothers, Thomas and John; and two sisters, Margaret Easler and Catherine Johnston.

She is survived by a sister, Mary Ann Cronin of Moon Township, PA; nieces and nephews; and by the members of the IHM Congregation. Sister Patricia will also be missed by the members of the Malanaphy and Smith families.

The funeral will be Wednesday, January 3, at 11:00 a.m. with Mass of Christian Burial at Our Lady of Peace Residence, 2300 Adams Avenue in Scranton. Friends may call at Our Lady of Peace Residence on Tuesday, January 2, between 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. A prayer service will be held at 4:00 p.m. Interment will follow Mass on Wednesday at St. Catherine’s Cemetery in Moscow, PA.

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.



Reprinted from “In Memoriam” section of Journey, Spring 2018 issue

Reflection given by Sister Ellen Maroney, IHM Congregation President

Sister Patricia Stack, funeral January 3, 2018

“Journeying God, pitch your tent with mine so that I may not become deterred by hardship, infirmity, or doubt. Show me the movement I must make toward a wealth not dependent on possessions, toward a wisdom not based on books, toward a strength not bolstered by might, toward a God not confined to heaven. Help me to find myself as I walk in others’ shoes.” (Prayer-song of Ghana)

I don’t know if Pat ever read this prayer-song from the West African nation of Ghana, and even if she had, she was too humble a person to think that the words applied to her, except as something to which she should aspire. But for me, and for those whose lives were touched by Pat’s, this prayer so beautifully captures the way Pat lived and, yes, died.

Throughout her life, Pat’s singular goal was indeed to have God’s tent pitched with hers. Her prayer was the core of a deep faith and abiding trust and she approached life through the lens of that unshakable trust in the God who led her along the ups and downs of life’s path. Certainly, it was not always an easy path, but she would not be deterred and made the choice to live life as fully as possible along that journey. In so doing, she touched countless hearts and lives with her gentleness of spirit, open acceptance, and graciousness of heart, as we heard in the wonderful stories at yesterday’s wake service. Her family, her IHM sisters, her students, and all she met saw a woman whose gratitude to God for her vocation and for the many gifts in her life was clearly evident. Even during her illness here at OLP, she continually expressed her thanks to the nurses and staff for the smallest act done for her. One nurse commented yesterday, “She was a sister’s sister.”

During her fifty-eight years as an IHM, Pat ministered as service chaplain at the Marian Convent, teacher, office assistant, and social service volunteer in schools and parishes in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and New York. But, as was mentioned yesterday, it was not so much what she did, but how she did it that impacted us. Pat’s God was not “confined to heaven,” as the Ghanese prayer pleads, for she truly saw God in the faces of her students, her fellow teachers, and those to and with whom she ministered every day. Her generous spirit, her quiet, and even at times, stubborn, dedication, her unassuming, non-judgmental way, her commitment to serving others, especially the most vulnerable, touched us deeply.

One of the greatest loves of Pat’s life was her teaching of the kindergarten and first grade children, which she did for forty years. And those of you who have ever taught in elementary school or raised young children or even spent a brief time in their presence can appreciate that it takes quite a bit of courage, humility, and humor to do this day after day, especially when facing 120 of them a day, as we heard yesterday that Pat did. But Pat never complained, not then, not even during her later illness. She had a knack with students that connected them to her almost immediately. Her students saw her as a person who knew and cared deeply about each of them, who took the time to understand them, and whose example taught them the most important lessons they would ever need to learn. Her untiring encouragement, accompanied by a quick but gentle humor, conveyed a spirit of respect and care that enfolded her classroom. That same spirit was evidenced in her most recent ministries at IHM Friends of Carbondale and Catholic Social Services. No effort was too much for her, and her devotion to those she served was unbounded.

We rejoice in Pat’s kindness and love for all, especially her family, as we bring to our thoughts her parents, Catherine and Richard, who nurtured her faith and generous spirit and who now, along with her sisters, Margaret and Catherine, and brothers, Thomas and John, celebrate her homecoming with her loving God.

We pray for those people whose lives have been touched by Pat’s kindness and dedication, especially her sister, Mary Ann, her nieces and nephews, and grand-nephews and grand-nieces. We bring to our prayer today also the many sisters who shared life and the ministry with Pat, especially Sisters Jane, Lila, and Rosemarie, her dear friend, Eleanor Marie and her family, and the sisters, administrators and staff here at Our Lady of Peace Residence. We pray for her Band members, her many friends from Monsignor McHugh, and all who were a part of her life’s journey.

We’ve all known people in our lives who bestow a blessing in the ordinary course of life. Often they do so simply by showing up. Pat was such a person. Ever a teacher, her life was a textbook of lessons about how to live for others, for God. I have no doubt that God’s tent is eternally pitched with Pat’s.

I now ask Pat’s niece, Denise, to place the scriptures on Pat’s casket, for she heard the Word of God; indeed, she staked her life upon it, and received life to the full… the Word now beckons Pat home.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *