Friday, June 26, 2020
Church of Our Lady of Loretto
Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame, Indiana
Prayers: 9:30 a.m.
Immediately followed by the Rite of Committal with Final Commendation, Our Lady of Peace Cemetery
A memorial Mass will be scheduled when possible.
Sister Patricia Mary Crane, CSC
December 1, 1946–June 20, 2020
Word has been received of the death of Sister Patricia Mary Crane, CSC, who died at 10:50 a.m. on June 20, 2020, in Saint Mary’s Convent, Notre Dame, Indiana. Sister Patricia entered the Congregation from Bellmore, New York, on August 15, 1988. Her initial profession of vows took place January 4, 1992.
Please join us in prayer for Sister as we renew our faith in the resurrected Jesus and strengthen our hope that all the departed will be raised to eternal life.
“The road may be different, but the journey is the same for us all.” Sister Patricia Mary Crane was nearing 50 years old when she wrote those words in a letter stating her desire to make perpetual profession as a Sister of the Holy Cross on July 20, 1996. By then, Sister Patricia was already a seasoned traveler who had hoped one day to be stopped in her tracks by a “burning bush” confirming her readiness to respond definitively to God’s will for her as a consecrated woman religious. There never was such a flaming manifestation in her desert journey, yet she said yes because she saw that “It is in the ordinary of the everyday where I have found God calling me.” Sister Patricia died peacefully at 73 years old in Saint Mary’s Convent, Notre Dame, Indiana, on Saturday morning June 20, 2020, during the liturgical season of Ordinary Time, having lived through all the great feasts of the Christian calendar.
Patricia Mary Crane began her journey in Hempstead, New York, on December 1, 1946, as the firstborn of Harold Leslie Crane and Edythe Kathryn Broderick Crane. Both parents ran family businesses, the last as real estate brokers, in Bellmore, a hamlet in Long Island, New York. Patricia was the eldest of three children. She was close to her two brothers, Robert (Bob) and Kevin, and they feel fortunate that she visited and stayed connected with them beyond their youth. Their parents were active in parish life and the civic community. Pat picked up practical organizational skills and a work ethic by helping at home and at work. But Pat’s mother was first a nurse and it seemed natural for her only daughter to become a nurse as well. Pat chose to stay close to home and attended Russell Sage College in Troy, New York. She almost failed her first semester because she spent so much time getting to know people, but she earned her Bachelor of Science in nursing in 1968. As a registered nurse, she secured a position at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, D.C., 1968-1979, where she worked on cutting edge research in endocrinology. She said, “I was always trying to learn something new and always sought new avenues.”
In 1979 she felt compelled to respond to a need for nurses in Yucatan, Mexico, and was sent by the Diocese of Erie (Pennsylvania) Mission Program to be the project director of a mobile health unit for two years. She already spoke Spanish. Pat had always been attracted to indigenous cultures, perhaps because she grew up learning about the 12 Algonquin bands who inhabited Long Island before the arrival of the Dutch and the subsequent impact of European diseases on the tribes. After her time in Mexico, Pat pursued a master’s degree in international public health at Columbia University, New York, New York, to understand the systemic causes of disease and poor health. While at Columbia University, she was an activist in social justice issues. Upon completion of her degree in 1984, she volunteered to go to El Salvador under the auspices of Aesculapius International Medicine’s El Salvador Medical Project.
During her three years in El Salvador, Pat worked as a nurse and met Catholic Relief Services volunteer Sister Maryanne O’Neill, CSC, in a small rural village in the north. Many of the native religious and health care workers had been killed or had left under threat of death. It was felt that North Americans had a better chance of survival. Pat credited Sister Maryanne with inspiring Pat’s own vocation to religious life because of all the ordinary things they shared: the laughing, crying, arguing, playing and praying together. Sister Maryanne’s focus on “the font of prayer from which she drew strength was probably most impressive to me,” wrote Pat when applying to enter the Congregation.
Sister Patricia Crane’s 32 years in Holy Cross began in 1988 when she lived as a lay person with the sisters serving at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, Maryland, for a community experience while assisting clinic nurses with Spanish-speaking patients and caregivers in the obstetrics clinic. Later as a sister-nurse, her ministry had a distinct pastoral element, providing health care to the poor and uninsured at such sites as: Saint Joseph Chapin Street Clinic in South Bend, Indiana; Saint Agnes Medical Center and Holy Cross Clinic at Poverello House in Fresno, California; and Holy Cross Ministries in Murray, Utah.
In 1999 Sister Patricia ventured into the Southern Hemisphere as director of health services for the Diocese of Chimbote, over 200 miles north of Lima, Peru, when the Sisters of the Holy Cross established a new mission. Sister later moved to Lima in 2004 as director of temporarily professed sisters. From July 2008 until February 2012 she was a health and pastoral consultant for the Peruvian bishops’ conference, headquartered in Lima. Always attracted to the internationality of Holy Cross, Sister Patricia gladly accepted a mission to Kyarusozi, a village outside of Fort Portal, Uganda, where she ministered in the health unit of the Holy Cross Family Centre through March 2013. Even when her own health issues partially sidelined Sister stateside, she continued to provide health outreach in Tamaulipas, Mexico, from 2014 to 2018, and ministered as director of Family Rosary Mission in Mexico until early 2020. She also served enthusiastically as an Area of North America councilor, beginning November 1, 2019.
The path she took in Holy Cross ended too soon, but she completed the journey that is the same for us all. She lived one day at a time, receiving only ordinary grace as a woman whose compassion and care were normal. Now may God reveal to her fully the eternal simplicity of all that is holy and whole. Given her love of the Blessed Mother, how appropriate that Pat went home to God on the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
We invite you to donate to the Ministry with the Poor Fund in Sister’s name.
—Written by Sister Catherine Osimo, CSC