Sister Patricia Marie McClain
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Sr. Patricia Marie McClain

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Date of Profession:
August 7, 1988

Influences:
Her parents, the late Robert and Phyllis McClain; Sister Charlyn Marie, SND, who helped her discern God’s call, and all the sisters who taught at Notre Dame Academy.

Interests:
Walking and biking, aerobics, playing cards, and going to Lial Catholic School events and games.

Best thing about being a sister:
“The privilege of having time every single day to be alone with God and to live with my sisters and to see such great wisdom [in them.]”

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“God is Good.”

A day in the life of Sister Patricia Marie McClain might find her shooting baskets with the students at Lial Catholic School, praying, biking at Oak Openings Metropark, or playing cards with the other sisters in her house.

All of those things and more are part of being a Sister of Notre Dame, something Sister Patricia has known she wanted to be since she was a student at Notre Dame Academy, the community’s high school for girls. There, she saw something she liked in the way the sisters related to one another. “It was obvious that they cared about each other . . . You could see them in the hallway joking with each other and it was just fun to watch.”

At the time, Sister Patricia also had enough of a relationship with Christ to know that she might be hearing a call to a deeper life with Him. “So the sisters had something that I wanted and I also was being called and attracted to Christ Himself.”

On Holy Thursday of her senior year in high school she met with the Notre Dame provincial superior and was given papers to join the community the following July. “When I entered . . . I was debating between going to college or convent and so I said to God, ‘All right, I’ll give you first chance at my life. You make me happy and [I’ll] know this is for me and this is what you want.”

Throughout her formation, Sister Patricia says, she experienced a deep, abiding joy that told her God was indeed calling her to be a sister.

She did struggle, however, with her desire to be a mother, knowing that God was asking her to give that gift back to Him. Sister Patricia now sees that as a sister, life has been created through the many lives she has touched. “There is a great, great joy in that type of life-giving . . . This particular body will not give physical birth, but a great deal of spiritual birth has happened in many ways.”

Since becoming a Sister of Notre Dame, Sister Patricia has taught primary and intermediate grades in several schools, and served as principal of Holy Rosary School in Jacksonville, Fla. For the last five years, she has been principal of Lial, a continuous-progress school in Whitehouse, O., for children from age 4 to Grade 8.

When school is in session, Sister Patricia begins her days at 4:45 a.m., rising early to pray for about 90 minutes and have breakfast. She gets to Lial at 7:30 in time to greet the teachers before school starts at 8:45.

Recess may find her with tennis shoes on and playing basketball or soccer with the students. Afternoons are often filled with meetings and by 5 p.m. she is home in time for Mass and evening prayer. After dinner, Sister Patricia says, she joins a group of the sisters who like to play cards, and in her free time, also loves to walk and bike.

As she goes through each day, Sister Patricia says she finds herself calling on God almost constantly, whether it’s in prayer before a parent or committee meeting or at the close of day in her room.

Indeed, in 2006, prayer was her first response to news that a fourth-grade Lial student and her brother had been killed by their father. Once the report was verified, Sister Patricia met the school counselor at Lial and the two of them prayed before deciding what to do. Together they made more than 125 phone calls to parents of their students so that the children would hear the news at home. They also told parents about a prayer service to be held in memory of the slain children.

In spite of the tragedy, Sister Patricia says, “God was still good through it, and God loved us deeply through it.”

After 28 years with the Notre Dame Sisters, she says, “The thing that I most love about being a sister is the privilege of having time every single day to be alone with God, to live with my sisters, and to see such great wisdom [in them] . . . I love being a Sister of Notre Dame and it is good. God is good and that provident care is just so evident in each day.”

 
   
 


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