Sister Patricia (Mary Sebastian) McGlinn, 1935-2016

Sr. Patricia McGlinn

Sr. Patricia McGlinn

Sister Patricia (Mary Sebastian) McGlinn, a Sister of Notre Dame for 62 years, died peacefully on August 8, 2016, at Mercy Retirement and Care Center in Oakland. She related in a special way with her therapists, Care Center Staff and residents. She watched the recent Republican and Democratic Conventions, and voted in the primary. Always the global citizen, she reached out in her prayers to refugees and the troubled spots in our wounded world,

One of three adopted children of Richard and Catherine McGlinn, Patricia was born on June 6, 1935 in Seattle, and later attended Notre Dame High School in San Jose. She is predeceased by her brother, Gene McGlinn and sister, Catherine McGlinn.

At age seven, Pat wanted to become a priest. Instead, she became a Sister of Notre Dame and found many ways to serve God’s people. Sister entered the community in 1954, and taught in Notre Dame elementary schools in Redwood City, Yuba City, Santa Barbara and Watsonville.  She taught secondary school in San Jose, Marysville, San Francisco and St. Francis High School in Sacramento. While in Sacramento she saw firsthand the challenges and dangers that women had to endure when working in the fields. Her involvement with Cesar Chavez and the Farm Worker movement heightened her commitment to issues of social justice.

Sharing her knowledge of history and political science during her 25 years as assistant professor at College of Notre Dame, now Notre Dame de Namur University, was a joy for her.  She was happiest when interacting with students at the University or assisting anyone visiting Cunningham Chapel where she was sacristan for many years.  Dr. Abbas Milani, former Chair of the Department of History and Political Science at NDNU, and later the Director of Iranian Studies at Stanford University, wrote to Sr. Patricia when he heard of her retirement.  He described “the magnanimity” of her soul . . . her “unrelenting dedication.” “. . . The quiet grandeur of your faith is for me a source of hope, inspiration, admiration and love.”

This favorite photo of Sr. Pat's shows her with new members of the Sisters of Notre Dame.

This favorite photo of Sr. Pat’s shows her with new members of the Sisters of Notre Dame.

Devoted to St. Julie Billiart, foundress of the Sisters of Notre Dame, Sr. Pat also admired the early pioneer Sisters whom she considered as mentors. Vatican II deepened her understanding and appreciation of the environment, human rights and the role of the People of God as Church.

For a time, Sr. Pat served as Archivist for the Sisters, and she enjoyed the years she assisted with the liturgical and RCIA ministry at Immaculate Heart Parish in Belmont.  She served six years on the San Francisco Archdiocesan Faith and Justice Commission, two years as Chair.

Pat believed in the “true goodness that lies in the depths of the human spirit,” and frequently greeted people with the word ‘Shalom,’ a blessing of peace and love.

Sr. Patricia will be lovingly remembered and greatly missed by her many former students and friends and her Sisters of Notre Dame.  Special thanks go to the Notre Dame Health Care Team, Ann Comer and Sr. Melanie O’Brien, and to those who cared for her with such kindness at Mercy Retirement and Care Center.

Mass was celebrated at 11:00 on August 22, 2016 at Cunningham Chapel at NDNU, and she is interred at Holy Cross Cemetery.

The following was shared by Sr. Jacinta Martinez, SND, at Sr. Pat’s Mass:

In remembrance of Sister Patricia Therese McGlinn SNDdeN

“When a friend asked Sr. Pat who she would like to meet in heaven……..she responded: Marcus Aurellius!  WHO?

Well, dear Pat, you sent me on a search for this man. Marcus Aurelius’ was a Roman Emperor and Philosopher who authored his famous 12 Meditations. I spent half a day reading the Meditations and no wonder that part of Pat’s life was influence by this Philosopher. However; some of his maxims are very much like Jesus’ and Julie Billiart.

We are here to celebrate the life of a humble woman, deeply steeped in a Gospel way of life and a paragon of intelligence!

Recently, I was in the sacristy and I sensed Pat’s presence strongly.  Her presence will be felt by so many of us who come to this temple/chapel to worship for years to come.

It was Sr. Pat’s joy to care for this chapel and anyone else who would cross her path.  The center for spirituality and the Dorothy Stang center being so close to the chapel brought Pat in contact with the students and staff.  Her interest in each person was real.  Pat was recently called a “global citizen” and that she was.  She would remind us of the political and social events happening in our world, and encourage us to pray. She never forgot her time in Africa which was always dear to her heart.

Sisters of Notre Dame with hearts as wide as the world!  Pat was all that! She embraced with her love every student; teacher, staff person and worshipers at the 4 PM Sat. Mass. Students loved seeing her in the old habit on occasion.

She was Julie Billiart, proclaiming God’s goodness with her life.

She was Anna always in the temple!

She was Mary of Nazareth and Mary Magdalene at the foot of the cross.  Pat would spend hours in this chapel gazing at the crucified Christ.

Sister Pat will be remembered and missed at this University which she loved.

Some of us know that for Pat, being at Mercy Care Center in Oakland was a challenge.  The week before she died, she shared with two friends that she ‘recognized as grace and blessing all the care that she received at Mercy.’

Years ago, while ministering in a parish school, the mother of our parish priest was buried from Sacred Heart Church.  The whole school attended.  As the beautiful bronze casket was carried down the aisle….

A little kindergarten child looked up and asked his teacher:  What’s in the treasure box?! A profound question!

We have a treasure box before us this morning.  It contains a loving daughter, and sister.  A faithful friend, a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur, with a heart as wide as the world. Rest in peace, Pat, Shalom!”

The following was shared by Joanne Kaczor, an Associate of the Sisters of Notre Dame, at Sr. Pat’s Mass at Cunningham Chapel:

Good Afternoon.  It is truly a gift and an honor to be speaking about our Sr. Pat.  We are here to celebrate her life.

Some of us knew Sr. Patricia McGlinn, formerly Sr. Sebastian, as a Sister of Notre Dame,

… or an educator in the Department of History and Political Science, who was very committed to her students,

… or, as a friend, or as an individual very aware of currents events both in the US,  the world, and the political scene,

… or someone who was feisty and enjoyed having discussions about history, current events, politics, family, movies, nonfiction books, sharing old memories and exchanging recipes,

… or inviting several women to become Associates of the Sisters of Notre Dame,

… or the nun who was always in the Chapel taking care of it for years,

… or, a person who was always available to help when help was needed.

My personal experience with Sr. Pat began on my first day of employment at this university.  I was in the hall and recognized Sr. Pat from the Chapel.  We were introduced to each other and that was the start of the “bear hugs”.  This was also the beginning of a very beautiful woman-to-woman friendship as we worked together for 25 years in the Department of History and Political  Science.

I learned that Sr. Pat developed several courses, which are still being taught today.  I know she was an outstanding educator because several years ago I audited one of her courses, California History.  Not only did I learn a lot, surprisingly which I still remember, and that is because she was so knowledgeable and clear in her description of the events and people.  She made it all come alive.

Over the years there are many woman who are here today and have become Associates because of her invitation and sharing.  Twelve years ago, Sr. Pat invited me to become an Associate and was my sponsor.  To walk in partnership with the Sisters is a gift beyond words.

Sr. Pat’s beloved spiritual place was always this Chapel.   For years she was the Sister in charge of totally maintaining the Chapel in all ways for Mass, events, as a sacristan and acolyte.   But most of all it is where her heart and soul was with Jesus Christ.  She was very devoted to her mission and this sacred space.

She knew there were many of us taking care of the Chapel until her return and Sr. Pat was so grateful.  And yes, we will continue as we remember Sr. Pat and feel her presence with us.

Sr. Pat lived her life as a deeply spiritual woman, loving, caring, giving, knowledgeable, fun to be with, approachable.  Her love had no bounds. Each of us present will remember Sr. Pat McGlinn in our own way.  May she always remain in our hearts.   Thank you.

Click here to make a memorial donation in Sister’s honor.

2 thoughts on “Sister Patricia (Mary Sebastian) McGlinn, 1935-2016

  1. Sister Pat, I knew you only for the final few months of your life, but it feels like a lifetime. You taught until the very end. You were a critical thinker, an activist, a teacher, and also allowed yourself, with all of your wisdom, to be a ‘student’ too. I SO enjoyed our exchanges. Love You Forever. Keep telling stories. I’m listening. Lisa

  2. I had the honor of sharing time with Sr. Pat at Villa Angelica in Carmel during my sister’s alumnae retreats. She approached me sensing that we were kindred spirits and shared her latest favorite books indicating with a wink that some might consider them somewhat radical. She touched my heart and fed my soul. May the Good Lord hold you in the palm of His hand.

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