Sister Patricia Jean Garver, CSC
(November 6, 1926 - February 2, 2012)
Word has been received of the death of Sister Patricia Jean Garver who died at 11:45 a.m. on Thursday, February 2, 2012, in Saint Mary's Convent, Notre Dame, Indiana.
Sister Patricia Jean, known to all her friends as “P.J.,” had a many faceted personality with generosity and gratitude being paramount. No matter whether it was a garage mechanic, beautician, housekeeper, sister or priest she generously acknowledged even the smallest service provided to her. She also was very generous with her time and enjoyed providing transportation for sisters to sightsee, shop or visit relatives and friends. Whenever she was needed, P.J. helped Sister Helen Anthony, her longtime friend, in the print shop. She gave unstintingly.
For the first 24 years of her ministry she taught in the elementary schools of the Midwest. Because she was a very kind concerned teacher her students remembered her with great affection. In 1968 she began teaching at St. Vincent de Paul School in her hometown of Logansport, Indiana, and in 1970 while there, she took on the full-time task of caring for her ailing parents and aunt until their deaths. This dedicated service prepared her well for her ten years of loving ministry with the elderly. One ministry for which she was particularly enthusiastic was the years she spent as receptionist and hostess at Moreau seminary. She loved interacting with these young men and urged them to “work hard and prayer harder.” They, too, have fond memories of her caring. Though she had many health issues herself, P.J. still offered service to others without counting the cost.
Even after she no longer had the responsibility of a classroom teacher, Sister P.J. continued her teaching ministry in an expanded way by writing two children’s books. Her first one titled Jacob and the Little One, was intended for an audience of young children, but its message was appropriate for people of any age. The lesson of this little Christmas story was that no matter how old or young a person is there comes a time when a personal treasure must be given to someone who needs it more. Her second published book, titled My Friend Charlie, was written to introduce young readers to an O. Henry type ending. It was printed with full picture illustrations designed for a reading and coloring exercise to stretch the imagination of the child reader. Again, her generosity was evident as the revenue earned from the sale of these little books went to the Holy Cross Ministry With the Poor Fund.
Sister P.J. was lauded as one of Notre Dame’s most enthusiastic and loyal football fans. Her mother taught her from her earliest years that cheering and praying for the Notre Dame team was just part of growing up. She was a number-one fan of the football team and was on a first name basis with the players and coaches alike. One year she was invited by Coach Bob Davie to attend the annual football luncheon and to address the group. Her enthusiasm so fired up the audience that they gave her a standing ovation. Even after she retired, P.J. remained a Fighting Irish supporter.
Love of the Blessed Mother was an integral part of her spiritual life and her loyalty to the Notre Dame team was rooted in that devotion. At the beginning of the season she When the new football season begins she will probably be leading the heavenly choir in the Notre Dame fight song and add… “Go Irish!”
Funeral arrangements for Sister Patricia Jean are as follows: Reception of the body at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, February 7, 2012, with the Mass of Resurrection at 1:30 p.m. the same day. These ceremonies will take place in the Church of Our Lady of Loretto. May Sister rest in peace.