Sister M. Patrice Kerin (1927 - 2013)

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(NEWS ARTICLE) Sister M. Patrice Kerin, a former teacher and principal who as leader of her religious community put in place professional oversight of its health-care system, died Sunday in Rosary Care Center, Sylvania. She was 86.

She'd been in ill health recently, said Sister Mary Jon Wagner, congregational minister of the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania. For eight years starting in 1976, Sister Patrice held that position, then called the general superior.

"It's so humbling that I would be in the same league as she," Sister Mary Jon said. "She was such a mentor to so many of us.

"She had the most inviting smile and twinkling eyes and always spoke with integrity and challenged you in such a way that made you feel you could go to the next level. She was charismatic. She drew people toward her," Sister Mary Jon said. "She was a very good friend of mine."

As general superior, Sister Patrice formed Franciscan Services Corp., now called Sylvania Franciscan Health - a health-care ministry that became one of the first incorporated health systems, with a board that hires an administrator, Sister Mary Jon said. Sister Patrice was a former president of the board, on which she served for 20 years.

"It was very visionary. It took a lot of risk," Sister Mary Jon said.

The system now has hospitals and care facilities, senior housing, and home health-care services in Ohio, Kentucky, and Texas and employs more than 6,000 people.

Earlier, Sister Patrice was an area coordinator for the sisters and assistant to the general superior.

Most recently, Sister Patrice was a core member of the prayer ministry at the Sylvania Franciscans' motherhouse. She was a former associate director of programs, retreats, and spiritual direction at a spiritual renewal center in Santa Fe.

Sister Patrice was an elementary teacher at schools in Toledo, Detroit, and St. Paul and was a principal of Holy Cross School, Minneapolis, and Regina Coeli School, Toledo - and was ahead of her time in the types of teaching methods she endorsed, said Sister Mary Jon, who also taught at Regina Coeli.

The former Margaret Kerin was born Feb. 5, 1927, in Toledo to Mary and William Kerin.

She was a member of Blessed Sacrament Parish when she entered the Franciscan community. She made her profession of vows on Aug. 18, 1947.

"She just had a calling," said Annie Householder, a niece. "That order always seemed so joyful and encouraged you to learn all you could."

Sister Patrice had a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University and a master's degree from Siena Heights College in Adrian.

She took graduate courses in special education at Catholic University of America in Washington and in Scripture and theology at the University of Notre Dame.

There are no immediate survivors.

Visitation will be from 2 to 8 p.m. Friday in Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel at the Sylvania Franciscans' motherhouse, with a welcoming home ceremony at 6 p.m.

Funeral services will be at 3 p.m. Saturday in the chapel, where visitation will begin at 9 a.m.

Arrangements are by the Thomas I. Wisniewski Funeral Home.

Tributes are suggested to the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania.

- Mark Zaborney
Published in Toledo Blade on Apr. 10, 2013
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