The Other I

March 4, 2013

The gift

Filed under: Just Stuff,Life as a Nun — theotheri @ 8:56 pm

I have just heard that Pat Logan died recently.  Pat, along with perhaps three or four other people during my years as a Maryknoll sister,  changed my world view as well as my view of myself.  We worked together in the Publicity Department at the Motherhouse, and Pat is the one who wrote the scripts for the Maryknoll Sisters’ weekly television show, “Let’s Talk About God,” on NBC in New York, in which I held conversations with children- well, puppets – who freely expressed their questions and opinions about whatever topic seemed relevant at the time.

Pat herself was as questioning as the puppets she created.  She was dedicated, energetic, and unorthodox.  She was born in Scotland, and came to the States when her Scottish father immigrated as part of his work during World War II.  Now that I’m living in Britain, I’m not sure Pat was quite as unorthodox as I thought then.  Part of her was Scottish.  But however much of her presentation was cultural, Pat had a liberating independence of spirit that was beyond culture.

It may be that the Maryknoll superiors knew something that I didn’t when they refused her permission to make final vows.  But I’ve often thought it was that independence that was the basic problem.  The RC Church was reeling with the shake-up begun by Vatican II, as well as the changes taking place in American society reflected in the Civil Rights Movement and the Peace Corps.  Our superiors were as shaken as most of the older generation by the seemingly insubordinate attitudes of the young who thought we were going to create a great new world.  Hundreds of women were either told or chose to leave Maryknoll during this upheaval.

Pat did not want to leave Maryknoll – she thought she had a vocation.  I think she did.  But she belonged to a Maryknoll that has emerged from the tormented crisis of the 1960’s and 70’s.  The Maryknoll Sisters, unlike the Vatican, did not try to obliterate the teachings of Vatican II, but has done a great deal to understand and live by them.

Pat and I were not permitted to be in contact after she left Maryknoll, and when I left myself several years later, I had no idea for many years where she was.  We finally contacted each other just before my husband and I returned to Europe.  By that time, I’d had a university career, married, lost a child.  But learning that I was not bitter or angry about my time in Maryknoll seemed to give Pat the greatest joy.

We talked again several times over the years, but living on two different continents in those days made communication expensive.

Pat is another one of those people to whom I never thought to say thank you.  She quite possibly wouldn’t have even known what I was talking about, and still being Scottish in some deep recess of her American self, she might have found it embarrassing if I’d tried.  She would have said she was just being herself.

And she was.  There was a no-nonsense down-to-earth quality about her, undisturbed by her significant gifts.  She cared about people.  She wanted to make a contribution.  But she didn’t think one should make a big show of it.  You just did your best, which in Pat’s case was often quite outstanding.

That’s why she gave me so much.

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8 Comments »

  1. awesome. wish i had known her. and what a tribute to her. she must be smiling.

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    Comment by kateritek — March 4, 2013 @ 10:56 pm | Reply

    • Pat Logan lived in my house when I was a boy in the late 50’s early 60’s. I remember her kindness to me. She was always nice to me and I remember visiting her in the convent.

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      Comment by Patrick Burke — April 4, 2013 @ 11:26 pm | Reply

      • Patrick – Thank you so much for taking the time to send this comment. Pat really was somebody special to me, and I’m glad to know that there are others who think the same. Thank you again.

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        Comment by theotheri — April 5, 2013 @ 7:47 pm

  2. Great tribute.

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    Comment by sanstorm — March 5, 2013 @ 7:28 pm | Reply

  3. Terry (almost said Bernadette), just read your comments on Pat Logan in Full Circle and now here too. She touched my soul and my heart in ways I cannot describe or even understand. I regret that I did not get in touch with her after you gave me her address a year or more ago. Keep well. Mary (Sharon)

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    Comment by Mary Heffron — July 18, 2013 @ 9:33 pm | Reply

    • Mary (and yes, I almost said Sharon), Thank you for sharing your memory of Pat Logan Your comment says it so well – she also touched my heart in ways I can’t describe or even understand. I suspect you and I are far from unique. I was thinking after reading your comment about the fact that Pat was a member of AA in Yorktown, and did not touch alcohol for 40 years. My own guess is that Pat did not really need the support of the AA to stop drinking. But I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that there were many who were AA members who found their own strength to control their alcoholism through Pat.

      That’s the thing that I find so truly wonderful about her. She didn’t lead in any traditional way. She certainly didn’t exhort or tell people what to think or how to behave during the years I knew her. What she did was to help me find my own strength. She didn’t want me to follow her — she wanted me to follow my own light. Yet she never said anything like this to me, which is why I find it so strange that that is the effect she had on me.

      But perhaps that is partly why we both say that we can’t fully understand the gift she gave us. Do you think?

      Again, thank you for getting in touch. It’s like a small celebration of Pat’s life. Terry

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      Comment by theotheri — July 19, 2013 @ 8:26 pm | Reply

      • Yes, Terry, I think you’ve got it right. Pat was challenging, but also completely trusting in the other’s ability. She scared me a bit while also helping me to believe in myself. Nice to be in touch with you. Mary

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        Comment by Mary Heffron — July 21, 2013 @ 1:45 am

  4. […] either forced to leave Maryknoll or left voluntarily.   I’ve just learned that my friend Pat Logan, about whom I wrote earlier this year, was told to leave because she was “too creative.”  Others were told to leave because […]

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    Pingback by The Other I — August 13, 2013 @ 7:59 pm | Reply


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