A funeral Mass for Loretto Sister Patricia Jean (“PJ”) Manion was celebrated Sept. 16 in the Church of the Seven Dolors on the grounds of Loretto Motherhouse in Nerinx, Ky. Sister Patricia Jean died Sept. 12 at Loretto Motherhouse. She was 94 and in the 73rd year of her life as a Sister of Loretto at the Foot of the Cross.
PJ, as she was known to family and friends, was born in St. Louis Feb. 15, 1925, the daughter of Ruth (Thomas) and Joseph Aloysius Manion. She was educated by the Sisters of Loretto, attending St. Catherine of Sienna in St. Louis and Nerinx Hall, where she received her high school diploma in 1943. She entered the Sisters of Loretto from St. Catherine of Sienna Parish in 1946 and later that same year on Dec. 8 was received into the congregation. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English, with minors in philosophy and sociology, in 1952 from Webster College. Sister Patricia Jean earned a master’s in English in 1960 from Marquette University in Milwaukee and her doctorate in higher education in 1967 from Denver University. She also studied at the Jung Institute, Kusnacht, Switzerland, in 1979.
Sister Patricia Jean served as the ninth president of Loretto Heights College (LHC) from 1967-72. During those years, she restructured the governance of the college and the Advisory Board to include faculty and students. She taught at LHC from 1961-67. She had spent 1965-66 at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, working with Antioch’s president Jim Dixon and Sam Baskin, organizer of the Union for Experimenting Colleges and Universities. There she studied the concept of University Without Walls, which became the landmark educational experience at LHC during her presidency. In addition to her service at LHC, Sister Patricia Jean was a member of the faculty at Union Graduate School in Denver from 1978-79 and a counselor and faculty member at Denver Free University from 1980-81. She also taught in schools in California, Illinois, New Mexico, Ohio and Texas.
Throughout her years of ministry, she always found the energy, time and passion to work for world peace. In 1983, with Loretto Sister Anna Koop, Sister Patricia Jean represented the Loretto Disarmament/Economic Conversion Committee on a two-week experience in Germany and Holland. While the United States was pressuring Germany to accept Pershing II missiles, the two addressed a crowd of more than 8,000, saying, “I apologize for the fact that my government, which should represent humanitarian concerns, invests billions in destructive weapons instead of fostering understanding between American and Soviet people.” In her later years, she was a Jungian counselor in private practice in Louisville, Ky., and Santa Fe, N.M. She moved to Loretto Motherhouse in 2008, serving as author-in-residence until her death.
Sister Patricia Jean was buried in the Loretto Motherhouse Nature Preserve Cemetery.