In loving memory…

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Sister Patricia Mulvaney, CSC 

Read the memories shared at
Sister Patricia's vigil and funeral.

Sister Patricia Mulvaney, CSC
(Sister M. Peter James)

December 24, 1928 - August 13, 2018

Word has been received of the death of Sister Patricia Mulvaney, CSC, who died at 6:35 a.m. on August 13, 2018, in Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura, California. Sister entered the Congregation from Cheyenne, Wyoming. Her initial profession of vows was made on August 15, 1951. 

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.

At 80 years old Sister Patricia Mulvaney said, “I never wanted to be in any other life except the one I chose,” rock solid in her resolve. At nearly 90 years old, she said “Yes” one last time to the Risen Jesus who embraced her with everlasting love, two days before the 67th anniversary of her vowed life as a Sister of the Holy Cross. Her devotion to family, Holy Cross, and the compassionate ministry of health care were at the heart of her long life.

Sister Patricia’s zeal for Holy Cross may have derived from her grandfather, Richard Seidel, a music professor at Saint Mary’s College (1890 to the 1930s) hired by Mother M. Pauline (O’Neill), CSC. Clara Seidel and Vincent Mulvaney were her parents. Her aunt was Sister M. Richardine (Seidel), CSC, who died in 1965. Sister Mary Mulvaney, CSC, (a.k.a. Sister M. Vincent Clare) her older sister, died in 2001. Her younger sister, Sister Elsbeth Mulvaney, CSC, ministers at Saint Alphonsus Medical Center in Boise.

Patricia Mulvaney applied to the Sisters of the Holy Cross after her first year as a nursing student in Denver, Colorado in July 1948. Having visited Saint Mary’s, she wrote Mother Una (Garrity) that she was so eager to enter the Congregation immediately, “that I don’t know how I will wait the next six months.” She received the holy habit a year later and her name in religion, Sister Peter James.

Sister Peter James completed her registered nursing degree in 1954 at Holy Cross Hospital School of Nursing, Salt Lake City, Utah and her Bachelor of Science at Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana, in 1955.  By 1960 she finished her Master of Science in nursing administration from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., while teaching nurses at Saint Alphonsus Hospital in Boise, Idaho. 

From 1960 to 1963 she served as director of the School of Nursing at Holy Cross Hospital in Salt Lake City. Fully committed to a lifelong ministry of healing, Sister served as administrator of Saint Alphonsus until 1972 where “she became known for her forward thinking when she made a courageous move by relocating the hospital from downtown Boise to its present site.” She had assessed the risk and the opportunity in such a move, attributing its ultimate success to the dedicated board members and stakeholders.  

In 1972 Sister returned to her baptismal name when her ministry changed. Sister Patricia Mulvaney served as a councilor for the sisters’ health region, then was elected as their Western Regional Superior (1975-1981), assuming leadership for the sisters not only in health care, but also in education, pastoral and justice ministries.

Sister Patricia spent her years out of office researching geriatrics and managing the building of a new retirement facility for the sisters at Saint Catherine by the Sea in Ventura, California. In 1987 Sister Patricia chaired the Holy Cross Health System and transitioned into the role of president and CEO of HCHS until April 1989. 

She was elected that summer as General Councilor for Retirement until 1994. After a sabbatical, Sister served five years as the superior at Saint Mary’s Convent at the motherhouse. Saint Alphonsus Medical Center welcomed Sister Patricia back to Boise in 2000 where she attended to its healing mission for 12 years. While there, Sister Patricia established a palliative care program and received several awards: Star Garnet Award from the Idaho Hospital Association for promoting health care in Idaho; Woman of Today and Tomorrow award from the local Girl Scouts Council as a role model for girls for her visionary leadership; and the hospital’s 2003 Distinguished Citizen honor. Whatever recognition she received, she accepted it in the name of the Sisters of the Holy Cross.

Sister Patricia Mulvaney retired to Saint Catherine by the Sea Convent in July 2012 where, despite health issues, she was a vital part of the community. She will be buried near Ventura, in Santa Clara Cemetery in Oxnard, California, where the Congregation tends the graves of other dear sisters w​ho found final rest close to their missions on the West Coast.

Pl​ease consider an offering in Sister Patricia Mulvaney’s name to the Ministry with the Poor Fund. Visit www.cscsisters.org​ for more information.


Written by Sister Catherine Osimo, CSC

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