Sister Patricia Lawless (1930 – 2016)

Patricia Lawless SGS

Patricia Lawless SGS

Patricia Carol Lawless was born on April 7, 1930 to Edward and Mary (nee Day) Lawless in Queanbeyan. Patricia was the fifth child in a family of eight who were all very dear to her heart. She recalled her childhood years in working-class Queanbeyan with great affection.

At an early age Patricia was introduced to the Sisters of the Good Samaritan when she commenced her education at St Gregory’s Queanbeyan. Here she remained until the completion of her Intermediate Certificate.

After leaving school, Patricia worked in the Department of Commerce and Agriculture in Canberra. Then in 1952 she requested admission to the Novitiate of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan, which she entered on July 2 of that year. Patricia was given the religious name of Sister Mary Jude, but later she became known again by her baptismal name, Patricia.

After graduating from St Scholastica’s Training College with a Certificate of Teaching, Patricia taught in infant departments in schools across New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. This ministry continued until 1978. Like her patron St Jude, Patricia was indefatigable in reaching out to those in need, both in the classroom and with families.

After a year at the Centre for Christian Spirituality in 1979, Patricia undertook the ministry of parish coordinator in the parishes of Ingleburn and Minto. She then spent eight years at Varroville where she was a foundational member of the parish. Her ministry at Varroville is remembered with great fondness. Colleen Egelton, in her recollection of the beginnings of the parish recalls, “I don’t think there was a parishioner that Sister Patricia didn’t know or visit”. Fittingly Patricia’s name is recorded on the dedication plaque at the entrance to the Church of Our Lady of Mt Carmel.

Finally, in 1998 she settled in Nowra and continued her pastoral work in the Berry and Shoalhaven communities.

Patricia retired to the Osborne House Hostel, Nowra, in July 2012 where she continued to enjoy visits and outings with some of her very close friends from her time of ministry in the local area. A single-minded and independent woman, Patricia struggled with the loss of her independence. However, her deep relationship with God was increasingly witnessed to as she accepted the loss of sight and increasing frailty without complaint, expressing gratitude to the staff and anyone who showed her kindness.

Patricia is survived by her brothers, Allen and Graeme, and the extended families of all her siblings. She is remembered lovingly by all her Good Samaritan Sisters.