Sister Patricia (Mary Peter) Cummings, CSJ, 92, died Friday, September 1, 2023, in the 74th year of her religious life. The daughter of Levi and Isabel Shepard Cummings, Sister Patricia entered the Congregation from St. Athanasius in West View.
For 26 years, Sister Patricia ministered in education, serving first as a teacher at St. John Gualbert in Johnstown (1952-54), St. Richard in Pittsburgh (1954-56), Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Pittsburgh (1956-59); and St. Catherine in Pittsburgh (1959-1961). For the next 17 years, she was a principal at St. Paul of the Cross School in Atlanta, GA, which was staffed by Sisters of St. Joseph from its opening in 1957 until 1983. Its graduates were among the first African-Americans to enter Atlanta Catholic high schools and the University of Georgia. Sister Patricia also served in administrative positions for several organizations that included Catholic Charities and Friendship House in Pittsburgh, Carma Conference Center and Marian Conference Center in Washington, D.C., and World Mercy Fund and United Community Ministries in Alexandria, VA. From 1996 to 2012, Sister Patricia worked in various administrative capacities for the Paulist National Catholic Evangelization Association and Ministries in Alexandria and Washington, D.C.
In reflecting on her 50th Jubilee, Sr. Patricia said that no matter where she serves, “I feel the love of the Sisters.” Sensitive to those experiencing isolation and loneliness, Sister Patricia regularly companioned with seniors in need of basic care and conversation. Described as a “hidden figure,” Sister Patricia served others with humility, compassion, and a delightful sense of humor. When Sister Patricia retired to the Motherhouse in 2017, she volunteered as a driver for other Sisters, helped on the grounds, and frequently extended hospitality to dinner guests, baking pies and engaging in stimulating discussions about current events.
Predeceased by one brother and one sister, Sister Patricia is survived by a sister, Lois Brown of Mentor, Ohio; nieces, nephews, and grandnephews; Associates; and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Baden. The Sisters are grateful to the Supportive Living staff at the Motherhouse for their care of Sister Patricia. A Prayer Vigil will take place on Thursday, September 7, at 6 p.m. in Medaille Hall in the Motherhouse. There will be no visitation. A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered Friday, September 8, at 4 p.m. in the Motherhouse Chapel. Donations in the name of Sister Patricia may be sent to the Sisters of St. Joseph Memorial Fund, Development Office, 1020 State St., Baden, PA, 15005.