Remembrance of the Life of Patricia Jean Saddler Hughes CoL
Patricia Jean Saddler was understandably proud of her ancestry. Her distant kin, Basil Hayden, led the first band of Catholics from Maryland to central Kentucky in 1785. Her mother’s family, the Raleys, were original settlers of Calvary, Ky., the Rev. Charles Nerinckx’s first parish. She had relatives among the early Sisters of Loretto and an aunt who attended school at Loretto Academy at the Motherhouse before 1918. Pat herself first knew Loretto Sisters when she attended St. Augustine Parish School in Lebanon, Ky., during the World War II. She and her mother were temporarily living on the Raley family farm while her father served in India.
Pat was born in Louisville, the daughter of Olaf Sircliffe Saddler and Hilda Madonna Raley Saddler. She had one sister, Jeanette Marie Saddler, who was 16 years younger than she. Pat had her early schooling at St. Patrick and Sacred Heart schools in Louisville and following the war, Pat returned to Louisville and attended Loretto High School on Broadway, graduating in 1949. Pat enrolled in community college and nursing school and married Arch Hughes while still in school. For nearly 20 years, Pat worked on and off as a technician in the Labor and Delivery departments of two Louisville hospitals, interrupting her work for the births of five children. The first, Michael, was born in 1951 and the last, Patrick, arrived in 1961; between these boys were Madonna, Joe and Arch Jr.
Values learned early with Loretto helped ground Pat’s married life, her parenting, her nursing and teaching and her service to St Francis of Assisi Parish and the Louisville community. When her son Joe died in an auto accident at 28, and when the first child of her son Pat was born in 1988 with severe disabilities, Pat found the wisdom to make hard choices and respond with compassion while nurturing her own inner strength. In 2000, when Pat sought Loretto Co-membership, she said, “God wants me to be the best version of myself. I believe this is another step in that direction.”
Pat had traveled to Italy in 1998 with a study group, spending two days at Assisi and a day at the Monastery of St. Benedict in the mountains. She wrote about this life-changing journey in her Loretto autobiography: “I came home with a new appreciation for my Catholic heritage and told the pastor at St. Francis of Assisi that I would like to be more involved in the parish. Until then I had been a ‘Sunday Catholic.’ I was soon nominated and subsequently selected to be on the parish council, completing a three-year term. Though I feel as if I did not contribute much, I learned how the parish operates. Later, I signed on as a Lector and even took the four-session Lector class. I have been on the RCIA team for a couple of years as a support member after attending one year for my own spiritual growth.”
Pat attended the archdiocesan Ministry Formation Program in 1999 and as her supervised ministry experience she developed a program of service to feed and provide personal care aid to transient persons for St. Francis. At the same time she was continuing the volunteer service at St. Joseph’s Children Home which she had begun in 1972 and renewed in 1984, quilting in the sewing room. Other service work included initiating book discussion groups at St. Francis and teaching part time as an assistant for the preschool program at Hawthorne Elementary School.
At the time Pat applied for Loretto Co-membership, her husband Arch was diagnosed with “early memory loss.” Pat hesitated to go forward with her application, but was encouraged to continue by the Loretto members of Community Group 17 in Louisville with whom she had begun meeting in 2000. Theresa Coyle wrote in her affirmation of Pat’s Co-membership, “Pat has made many personal sacrifices in rearing her children and grandchildren. Currently she is managing care of her husband. … I believe Pat depends on our prayers during this crucial time of caring for her husband. She relishes our group gatherings and enjoys companionship beyond her family circle.”
Mary Agnes Mahoney, another supporter of Pat’s Co-membership, wrote, “Pat is a wonderful fit with our Community. She will be there for and with us in the future. I encouraged her to go with Co-membership when she hesitated with respect to her husband’s illness. I told her now is when she may need us. Hopefully we will be able to help her. Mutual benefits for the Community I see as one more person who cares for us, our issues and concerns. I see Pat as being a real part of the whole, appreciating her place with us and when the time comes, she will contribute all she can.”
Pat Hughes was accepted as a Loretto Co-member on April 1, 2004. She enjoyed a joyous celebration of commitment with Community Group 17 and others in Louisville on April 16, 2005.
Pat’s husband, Arch, died in 2007. She continued in her busy family life and many service activities. In 2009, she wrote on her commitment renewal, “I do believe, or at least hope, my relationship with God had deepened through my co-membership. I’m still trying to be the best version of myself through baby steps in God’s direction.”
In 2017 Pat moved to Nazareth Home. She died there, peacefully surrounded by her loving family, in the seventeenth year of her Loretto membership.
Pat gave this poem as a gift to the Community on the day of her Comembership celebration:
Saunters through the trees.
I walk in shade, it flees. In light returns
To walk with me.
But always with me in the light.
I can chase but never catch it.
Only in total darkness does it desert me.
By choosing darkness
I am able to control it.
I choose light.
With my shadow for company.