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Sister Patricia Flass, SSJ, is a familiar face in small towns around Selma, Alabama, where she has lived and worked for over 20 years in some of the most impoverished areas of our nation. For many years, Sister Pat worked in Pine Apple, AL, where she directed an Adult Day Care Program and a Senior Nutrition Center, and worked in a food pantry. She currently leads the new Rural Program, where she introduces other Catholic sisters and associates to Selma-area residents and opportunities for service.
Sister Pat is part of a long tradition of service in Alabama by her congregation, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Rochester, NY, who’ve served there for over 80 years.
This podcast is brought to you by A Nun's Life Ministry. I'm Sister Maxine, and my guest is Sister Patricia Flass. Sr. Pat is a familiar face in small towns around Selma, Alabama, where she's lived and worked for over 20 years in some of the most impoverished areas of our nation. She currently leads the new Rural Program, where she introduces other Catholic Sisters and associates to Selma area residents and to opportunities for service. Sister Pat, in your early ministry in Alabama, you were in town of Pineapple, Alabama, and you served as the director of an adult daycare program. Can you describe some of the people you met there, and some of the needs that you encountered there?
There were usually 20, 25 people that came. They came daily. We had to pick them up on a bus, most of them. They were placed there, many of them by the state--they were supported by the state to some degree; the Edmundite Missions also contributed a large amount of money for their support. They were there because they were disabled in some way--elderly, they had no one at home during the day to take care of them. So they came there, the social services would put them there as a safe place for them to be. Many of them were extremely disabled. We had two elderly people who had never learned how to talk. They could not speak. And they were a challenge, I must say. But we grew to love them very much. A few words, they might be able to say a few words. When we pray in the morning, we would go around the room and everybody would say a Bible verse. And this one gentleman always said, "Jesus wept." That was as much as he could say of the Bible: "Jesus wept." And every morning he would say that, and he would say it so sincerely that it was just beautiful--and it's always been in my mind since then.
To hear full episodes of A Nun's Life podcast, visit the podcast page at anunslife.org/podcasts.