In Memory of our beloved
Sr. Patricia Keiley
Entered Eternal Life 7 September 2015
“I am the vine, you are the branches.
Whoever remains in me, bears fruit in plenty”
This quotation from the Gospel of John does not only speak of the close union between Christ and Sr. Patricia and her fruitful mission work, but also calls to mind the special significance of her being the first branch or CPS vocation in the Canadian Province.
Sr. Patricia, Regina Mary Keiley, was born on 11 May 1929 as the first of nine children to Lawrence and Ethel Keiley at Petty Harbour, Newfoundland, Canada. The parents, who were of good Irish Catholic descent, raised their children very well in the Catholic faith. They owned a small farm and hotel on the outskirts of St. John’s, and thus the family was used to welcoming many guests. After having obtained Shorthand, Typewriting and Bookkeeping Certificates Sr. Patricia worked for some time in a firm near her home and later in Toronto. When she felt the call to be a missionary Sister, she contacted a convent of contemplative sisters who referred her to the Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood. She met Mother Ethelberta, the Foundress of the CPS in the Canadian Province, and entered the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood in 1954 in Toronto. Sr. Patricia made her novitiate in Shillington, USA. After her First Profession in 1956 she returned to Canada from where she was missioned to Mariannhill, South Africa, in 1957 where she made her Final Profession in 1959.
Sr. Patricia trained as a nurse in St. Mary’s Hospital, Mariannhill, and in 1962 as a midwife in Lady Selborne, Pretoria. As the best student of the course she was awarded a gold medal and the Catholic Hospital Award for “Compassion with great efficiency”. In 1977 she also qualified as a Registered Psychiatric Nurse in Pietermaritzburg. Except for two brief stays at Christ the King Hospital, Ixopo, Sr. Patricia nursed at St. Mary’s Hospital. In 1963 she started the Midwifery School at St. Mary’s giving both the theoretical inputs and practical demonstrations to the aspiring midwives. The midwifery was a vital development. It did not only train midwives to deliver the ever increasing number of babies born at St. Mary’s Hospital, but also in the surrounding hospitals. Sr. Patricia was in charge of the midwifery school for 17 years, (1963-1969) and (1974-1985).
In November 2006 she said farewell to her beloved St. Mary’s Hospital. She then helped in the Mariannhill CPS Provincialate. In 2009 she suffered a number of minor strokes which forced her to discontinue her work and become a member of the Convent Infirmary community. Even in her last days Sr. Patricia radiated peace, gratitude and readiness to meet God.
May you rest in peace.