Sr. Roberta Morrissey

Sr. M. Roberta
Susan Meehan "Patsy" Morrissey

Born::  Regina, Saskatchewan, 22/5/1920
Postulancy::Regina, Saskatchewan, 01/08/1938
Novitiate:: Regina, Saskatchewan, 17/02/1939
1st Profession:: Regina, Saskatchewan, 01/02/1941
Final Vows::Regina, Saskatchewan, 17/02/1947
Died:: Regina, Saskatchewan, 13/02/2008

"Patsy", as she was known to family and friends, was the eldest in a family of two girls and five boys. Her parents, Margaret and Thomas, both born in Ireland, were deeply religious and no one could have been happier than when their daughter entered religious life and her brother Emmett became a priest.

Patsy attended Sacred Heart School and Sacred Heart Academy in Regina, with a brief sojourn in the Public School at Lebret. In all of these schools Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions were among her teachers. Soon after graduation from high school she entered the congregation and with novitiate received the name Sister Mary Roberta of the Sacred Heart.

After profession Sister Roberta began preparation for teaching and soon began her career in the classroom in St. Andrew's, then in the Regina Separate Elementary Schools and finally at high school level at Sacred Heart Academy, Sacred Heart College and Marian High School in Regina and St. Michael's Academy in Brandon.

Former students continue to remark on Sister's "dedication and clear precise teaching of Canadian history and her ability to bring out the highlights of a subject in a short time". During her twenty-two years of teaching Sister Roberta, by correspondence, summer school and a year in full attendance at University, earned a Professional Teacher's Certificate as well as a B.A. from the University of Ottawa and an M.A. from the University of Manitoba.

In 1966 she was elected to the General Council. This, of course, was immediately after the Second Vatican Council when momentous changes were taking place in the Church, not the least of which for the Sisters being the removal of the Generalate from Hasting to Rome. For four years Roberta was in charge of the community in Rome and from 1972 to 1978 she was Vicar General for the congregation which was steadily expanding into new mission fields in Kenya, Senegal, Peru, Papua New Guinea and Samoa. Travel became part of Roberta's life as she visited both the new missions and the long-established ones in Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Because of her love for an early-morning cup she is quoted as saying, "I know where the coffee is kept in every house in the congregation!"

On her return to Canada Sister helped research and then set up a Lay Ministry Program for the Archdiocese of Regina. After a year of study in Israel she was for a time religion coordinator in the Wynyard Deanery and then spent some months living with her aging mother.

Roberta is remembered throughout the congregation for her intensive study of the life and work of Euphrasie Barbier and many Sisters have written with appreciation for the workshops on the Foundress which she gave throughout the congregation in the years 1986 to 1989. From 1989 to 1992 she served as Provincial Superior in Canada and then for six years was Director of Pastoral Services for the Archdiocese of Regina until loss of sight obliged her to retire. During these years she went to Rome three times to work on a committee concerning the cause for the beatification of Euphrasie.

Sister's loss of sight slowed but did not stop her continuing work on the preparation of audio-visuals about the Foundress. With the assistance of several of the Sisters she was able to make these aids available for use throughout the congregation. The final one of these is currently being completed by Sisters Marilyn LeBlanc and Tara Dubard.

Many Sisters remember Roberta's relationship with them and others. "She loved the sisters, warts and all." "She knew how to affirm people, to listen to and take an interest in them, complimenting them on their work, encouraging them to pursue an education, setting an example of commitment, creativity, energy and generosity."

A series of strokes finally forced Sister to abandon her work and even the football games so dear to her heart, but as a patient in Santa Maria she welcomed many visitors who were eager to reminisce about her full, active life with its "journeyings often" and its constant work for the glory of God. Death came quietly while she slept on the morning of February 13. Prayer vigil was held in Santa Maria chapel and her funeral at Holy Rosary Cathedral, with a full complement of family and friends, Sisters, priests and the Archbishop who led the prayers of commitment. One felt everyone was echoing, "Well done, good and faithful servant! Enter now into the joy you have so generously earned."

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