Sister Patricia Stowers SMSM – RIP


Sister Patricia Stowers, of the Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary (SMSM) passed away on October 12 at Ste-Foy les Lyon (France), after a long illness.

She was an outstanding leader who served the SMSM sisters at the highest level.

“Patricia was a Marist woman, a woman of the Church, and a woman of the world” said the sisters’ present leader Sr Georgeanne Marie Donovan.

“Her concerns for others were not limited to where she came from or where she had been. She had a heart big enough to embrace the world.”

“She never ceased to be interested in or concerned about others – be they from SMSM world, from the wider Marist world, from her family and friends, or from the countries, cultures, and beliefs other than her own.”

Patricia  was born in Lepea, Samoa. She attended St. Mary’s school in Savalalo

Later she went to New Zealand from where she entered the SMSM noviciate in Heretaunga, in 1959.

After she made her religious profession in December 1962 Patricia stayed on in the noviciate as a staff member for four years.

She then returned to Samoa and went to St. Mary’s College to complete her School Certificate and University Entrance studies.

She was then appointed to teach at Marista College at Moamoa.

In the second half of 1970’s, Patricia got a scholarship to study at Macquarie University in Sydney where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Returning to Samoa, Patricia was appointed Regional Superior there. Not long after that appointment, she was sent to the USA to do a course on Religious Formation.

This prepared her for her next assignment which was to be the novice director for the SMSM noviciate in Heretaunga.

In 1987 Patricia was elected Superior General of the SMSMs for a period of seven years.

She was the first Pasifika person to be elected as Superior General of her congregation.

After the first term of 7 years, Patricia was re-elected Superior General for another 7 years.  This was the first time that a superior general had been elected for two consecutive terms.

Patricia was well known in Rome and her hospitality made her very popular with all the Pasifika visitors and students who studied in Rome.

In her role as superior general, she had affiliation with many organisations, groups, and institutions in both the Vatican and in other parts of the world.

After 14 years of leadership, Patricia stayed on in Europe. She worked in Algiers in Africa, teaching English at the University.

After some time she returned to Lyon in France and helped with the community at Ste-Foy-les-Lyon.

It was about this time that she was diagnosed with cancer. But, after successful treatment, she continued to help look after the elderly sisters in Lyon.

Patricia was doing so well that a few years ago she was asked to take on another leadership role as regional superior for the Euro-Africa Region. She readily accepted it but, the cancer returned and Sr. Pat became very ill.


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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