Pat Scileppi went home to our Lord on February 9, 2009.
by Sister Eileen Rafferty, RSM, Spiritual Director of the FCCW ministry
It is a privilege and an honor to be invited by Pat to share a few thoughts about her at this Mass of Resurrection.
I met Pat for the first time in the year 2000. A friend invited me to a Fellowship meeting in St Catherine's Spirituality Center on Nixon Street. My first impression of Pat was that she was a woman of grace and beauty, totally present to each woman who walked through the doorway. It is out of the context of the Fellowship that I speak about her.
Pat started the Fellowship of Catholic Christian Women ministry in the year 1996, giving expression to her vision for women, a vision that would enable women to become aware of their own dignity and their rightful place in society. Over the years she has seen the Fellowship spread throughout the diocese of San Bernardino and beyond--into Los Angeles archdiocese, Fresno, Oakland, and Sacramento dioceses. It was Fr Tom Burdick, pastor of St Catherine's parish, who, appreciating and respecting her dream, encouraged her to seek approval from the diocese for the Fellowship. The day she received the written approval from Bishop Barnes was indeed a great moment for Pat.
It was with great passion and enthusiasm that Pat worked tirelessly to give form to the vision--passion and enthusiasm combined with her natural gifts of a brilliant intellect, a tremendous gift for organization and a capacity for getting the job completed--and perfectly!
The British writer, Matthew Arnold, in the 19th century, wrote: "If ever the world sees a time when women come together purely and simply for the betterment of humankind, it will be a power such as the world has never known." This is happening through the Fellowship of Catholic Christian Women ministry.
Pat walked in the footsteps of great women of our time: Susan B Anthony, Rosa Parks, Dorothy Day, Mother Teresa of Calcutta--just to name a few. Many of you here present have seen her one-woman presentation: "A Visit with Susan B Anthony", which she gave almost fifty times throughout southern California. Mother Teresa was one of her favorites. One year the Fellowship members studied the life of Mother Teresa. At one meeting the women present pooled together $304.00 and entrusted it to a colleague of Pat's who was traveling to India and hoped to meet Mother Teresa. Amazingly he ran into a friend of Mother Teresa's at the airport and she took him to Mother Teresa's home. Pat loved to tell that story as she proudly displayed a picture of her colleague handing the envelope to Mother Teresa.
Pat had a great love of literature. Emily Dickenson was one of her favorite poets, whom she often quoted, especially the following lines:
Indeed Pat was a woman of hope,
--hope in her Creator God
--hope that she followed the will of God on the human journey
--hope to experience total healing in her life
--hope that dissolved into everlasting joy and love as she entered the tender embrace of her Creator God.
Pat, I thank you for your love and friendship.
"Go now in peace, faithful friend of God..........God's holy angels will lead you home to the wide waiting arms of the Lord," (Song of Farewell by Dan Schutte).
Sister Eileen Rafferty, RSM
This eulogy was given on February 12, 2009, during Patricia Scileppi's Mass of Resurrection