Sister Patricia Baker confirms with joy, “Imagine, I have consciously been lured by Providence since my youth! What a precious and unexpected journey! How wonderful to be able to really know that deep within!”
The Sisters of Divine Providence who taught her at St. Mary in Sharpsburg, Pennsylvania, and at Marycrest Prep School in Allison Park, Pennsylvania, were a strong and positive influence in her decision at age 18 to enter the Community she was already so at home with for 12 years. She reflects, “These women who taught me shared so much more than education; they shared a genuine faith rooted in goodness, kindness, personal interest and outreach. They, along with my family, nurtured in me a relationship with God that has only grown deeper over a lifetime.”
Sister Pat feels blest to have been given the opportunity by the Community to study music at Duquesne University in her early days of professional preparation. She spent 18 years in ministry as a teacher at St. Basil in Carrick, PA (1971-72 and 1982-83), Divine Providence Academy in Cheswick, PA (1973-77), Queen of Peace in Harper Woods, MI (1977-82) and finally at St. John the Baptist in Monaca, PA (1983-89).
She moved into parish ministry in 1989. It was at this juncture that Sister Pat was nudged out of her comfort zone of teaching into a new arena of ministering primarily with adults. It was also at this juncture that she was nudged into not only serving in Music Ministry, but also Bereavement Ministry. Sister Pat initially served in parish ministry at Nativity of Our Lord/Incarnation Parish in Pittsburgh (1989-1994) and subsequently at St. Scholastica Parish (Aspinwall, PA) since 1994. She says, “This twinning of parish ministries has been a gift beyond measure in my life! These years of ministry have truly been graced ones that I cherish!”
As Director of Music/Bereavement Ministries she coordinates many volunteers who serve as cantors, choir members in three choirs and those who serve in bereavement outreach. One highlight of this ministry has been the joy of being able to sing and play piano, organ and flute on a regular basis as an expression of prayer and praise. Another is the joy of being able to encourage parishioners to become involved in active ministry as they are able, both through Music and Bereavement Outreach. She muses, “It is such a privilege to minister with volunteers, sharing their faith, their good-heartedness and their willingness to serve others. This sharing has brought about a sense of genuine sense of care, community and connection that never ceases to astound me!”
Another important highlight of her parish ministry has been the call to be personally present to those who grieve. Sister Pat reflects, “In my younger years, I would never have thought that I would be called to Bereavement Ministry. Though difficult, it is an awesome trust to be God’s compassionate presence to those weighed down in sorrow. These times of interaction are sacred, and I carry these families always in my heart.”
Having served in parish ministry for such a long stretch of time has truly given birth to Sister Pat’s understanding of what it is to be a pastoral minister, as well as a Sister. She thoughtfully relates, “There is far more mutual ministry than I could have ever acknowledged in my younger years. In the call to be sister to anyone and everyone, my heart has truly been stretched. In the call to encourage and nurture others, I have been humbled to stand aside and let others lead. In the call to minister to the sorrowing, I have become more compassionate and gracious in responding immediately in God’s way and time. I hope that my years of service have left something of God’s visible presence and providence in the lives of those to whom I was sent. I have been so blest at every turn of my life. Is it any wonder that I am so deeply grateful for all the grace, people and experiences that have made the journey worth the gift of my lifetime!”
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