Sr. Pat, Sisters of St. Mary of Namur to celebrate order's 200th anniversary

Originally Appeared in : 9825-12/6/18

In 2019 the Sisters of St. Mary of Namur celebrate their 200th anniversary of responding to suffering by helping youth and the poor, whether through teaching and formation or through a number of different social justice ministries. 


According to Sister Patricia Brown, SSMN, the missionary community was founded in 1819 by Dom Nicholas Joseph Minsart – with co-foundress Mother Claire of Jesus – on the idea that “there was never a human suffering…that he was not called to compassionately respond to.” 


Now, 200 years later, the approximately 400 members of the congregation fulfill Minsart and Mother Claire’s mission in Belgium, Brazil, the British Republic, Cameroon, Canada, Congo, the Dominican Republic, Rwanda and Tanzania, and of course, the United States.


Sister Pat is currently the only member of the congregation, whose province is based in Buffalo, New York, serving in Georgia. The Eastern province will celebrate their congregation’s anniversary by focusing on the theme, “Grateful for the Past…Embracing the Future!” 


Sister Pat is grateful for her time as a Sister of St. Mary of Namur. Since she joined the order shortly after graduating high school, she’s served in various capacities in Cameroon, Buffalo and Mississippi, among other locations. Bishop Raymond Lessard invited her to come to the Diocese of Savannah in 1982. Since then, she has worked in various departments including Hispanic ministry and Family Life and of course Catholic Charities.


“My greatest accomplishment (in this diocese), I think, has been finding leaders and staff, people who could really use their gifts,” Sister Pat said. “I’ve been able to see the growth of so many outreach programs that really touched the poor..." So for me it has been an incredible journey and I have made wonderful friends, great friends.” 


In January, Sister Pat will leave her position as Director of Catholic Charities.


Though she will no longer be serving in an administrative capacity, she will continue to serve and do her part, as a Sister of St. Mary of Namur, to eliminate suffering in other ways. She prefers to work in the field and is ready for new opportunities to do so.


“I have tons of energy. I have lots of ideas," she said.


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