Sr. Patricia Wallace
July 7, 2014
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
SAINT JOHN, N.B. – Sister Patricia Wallace, a Sister of Charity of the Immaculate Conception (SCIC), was a woman of great intelligence. She served in various ministries from coast to coast, ministering in education and health care in New Brunswick, Alberta and British Columbia.
Wallace was 98 when she died June 13 at Ruth Ross Residence in Saint John, N.B. Her funeral was June 17.
Originally from Blacks Harbour, N.B., she took the name Sister Mary Marcella when she entered the Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception on the feast of the Birth of Mary, Sept. 8, 1933.
"She was a very capable woman, and for years she was a principal of a school," said Redemptorist Father Edward Kennedy.
After her novitiate, Wallace was missioned to Edmonton to prepare for teaching. She served as a teacher and principal in Catholic schools for 35 years, retiring in 1974. She taught at St. Alphonsus, St. Clare, St. Mary Junior High and Louis St. Laurent schools.
While Kennedy was pastor at St. Alphonsus Parish, she was living across the street.
"She and another sister came by every Saturday morning, and they prepared the altar and the sanctuary of the church. She always kept the linens around the altar looking just beautiful," said Kennedy.
He described Wallace as a capable principal and teacher, having a good sense of humour, proud of her Maritime roots and a skilled cook. Very hospitable, she often stopped by with fudge or a pie to share.
After leaving Alberta in the mid-1970s, she went to Vancouver where she worked in the admitting area at St. Vincent's Hospital. She took a correspondence course on the administration of nursing homes. This helped her land a job as the administrator of St. Joseph's Health Centre in Radway.
She also worked in adult religious education in Edmonton and Maple Ridge, B.C., and as a teacher/librarian in Burnaby, B.C. From 1990 to 1994 she served as a councillor on the SCIC leadership team.
"She was intelligent and was able to go into any job pleasantly. She had a very pleasant manner, and could go from one job to another with ease," said Sister Monica Plante, who lived with Wallace on two separate occasions, in both Edmonton and in Vancouver.
Plante said Wallace was "a good, steady, stable person" whose life was that of service, dedication and generosity. She and other sisters teased Wallace about her thriftiness and penny-pinching ways.
In 2002, Wallace returned to St. Vincent's Convent in Saint John, helping with the elderly and sick sisters there.
A VERY HAPPY LIFE
"She really summed it up by saying she had a very happy life serving in areas where she loved her work," said Plante. "She said that not the least of her blessings was to live with women who strived to live holy lives, and who helped her in many ways."
Wallace's love for reading and playing on the computer never left her, right up until her death. Her brother, Joseph Wallace, was always sure to give her the latest John Grisham novel. Even in her later years, with her eyesight failing, she got a Kobo, which helped her to continue reading.
"She also loved skating and the outdoors. When we were younger, we'd go skating all the time in Edmonton. She was a good all-around person," said Plante.
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