By Megan Moore, Communications Office co-op
“I just hope that I spread a little joy. It’s a sad world that we live in. I watch the news and I think, what good can come of this? If I wake up happy the next morning I want to spread that,” said S. Pat Hill.
After hearing that from Sister, it’s not a surprise that when talking to her, it is almost impossible not to smile. This only makes sense considering that Sister’s volunteer ministry revolves around bringing happiness to the lives of others. She visits the sick and elderly at their home and at hospitals through St. Clement parish, Cincinnati, Ohio. In Sister’s words, she “bring[s] comfort and a little joy” to the people she visits.
S. Pat began serving St. Clement in pastoral ministry in 1988 and spent 25 years there.
“I went there because my parents were getting older and they lived in Cincinnati and I wanted to be there to help them. It was the parish where my grandfather grew up. I found out about the job the year after he died. It was like I was supposed to be there,” says S. Pat.
Sister was hired for religious education, and made it known to the pastor that she would also like to visit the sick and elderly. “He really appreciated it because he didn’t think he could find someone who would do both. The secretary would tell me if somebody was in the hospital and I would visit them. Then I’d say ‘would you like me to visit when you get home?’ That’s how I got to know people. By the second year I had so many people to visit that they got somebody else to do the religious education,” she said. “I feel it was my calling.”
When Sister retired, she asked the Community if she could continue to spend her time at St. Clement as a volunteer. “They were so good to me [at St. Clement] while I was taking care of my parents. I was able to stay with my dad the last two months of his life. It was wonderful.”
One of Sister’s favorite parts of her volunteer ministry is that she is considered to be a part of the family to the people she visits.
“There have been cases in which I’ve visited a mother during the last illness and the death. At that time I visited the daughter who was taking care of the mother and later I was there for the daughter’s last illness and death, as well. It was like I was part of their family. I feel like part of so many people’s families. That’s a privilege.”
When asked what she does in her retirement, aside from her volunteer ministry, Sister’s response, “I ride the metro bus.” Though this may not be a common activity to list as a hobby, as Sister explains her reasons for doing so, things become clear: “I am doing that because of my values. We’ve talked about solidarity with the poor. I feel like that’s solidarity with the poor. The environmental reasons also play a part in why I choose to ride the bus.”
Because it takes so much time out of S. Pat’s day, it’s a 90-minute ride on two buses to get from the Motherhouse to St. Clement, she does think of it as one of the ways she spends her retirement. Sister certainly makes the most of that time, though.
“I pray with all humankind on the bus. I just feel one with all of the ordinary people. It’s where I want to be,” she said.
One of S. Pat’s more relatable hobbies is reading Christian love stories. “They’re good stories and people aren’t afraid to pray or talk about God. You know they’re going to have a happy ending. Maybe that’s one way I keep my spirits up,” Sister laughed.
It is clear after talking to S. Pat that she is happy where she is and appreciates every moment she gets to spend doing what she loves.
“I am very grateful to be retired. I feel like I don’t have to prove myself to anybody,” she concluded. “I’m grateful to the Community that I am able to do something I thoroughly enjoy. I feel like I’m still doing God’s work and I’m living my values.”