Sister Patricia Lulay said she was literally “born into the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon.” She was one of nine in her family, always surrounded by religious women and priests in Sublimity, Oregon.  

When she was in third grade, her teacher, Sister Beatrice Rigert, asked the class, “Who would like to be a sister or priest?” Young Patricia raised her hand. She had her picture taken on the steps of the St. Boniface Convent. That was her first memory of expressing her desire to live a religious life. 

However, during high school, Sr. Patricia says she was the “least likely in her graduating class to come into a religious community.” She moved to Portland and started working directly after high school, but she never felt completely happy nor fulfilled. She felt God calling her and after one year, in 1971, she requested to enter the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon.

Today, Sr. Patricia celebrates her 50th year in the ministry. Five of her extended family members currently live with her in the community.

Over the decades on the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon campus, Sr. Patricia developed her green thumb by tending the gardens and grounds, especially the roses. As a life-long learner, she has also served in elder care, food service, and, recently, the formation of the younger Sisters. 

Sr. Patricia said, “Living a life of prayer, community, and service has been beautiful and fulfilling. All the blessings I have received over the years have given me meaning and purpose in my life. Serving others as a way of loving God has been my greatest gift. I am very thankful for my community and all the good we do for the world.”

St. Patricia concluded, “If a young person is looking for a rewarding, counter-cultural life, this is one of them. It is an exciting way of life; it’s a very, very, very good life, a difficult life at times, but it’s a good life.”