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Remembrance of the Life of Sister Patricia (formerly Sister Margaret Rose) Hummel SL

Posted on July 30, 2019, by Eleanor Craig SL

A photograph of Sister Patricia (formerly Sister Margaret Rose) Hummel SL
Sister Patricia (formerly Sister Margaret Rose) Hummel SL
June 30, 1928 – July 30, 2019

The following is the autobiography which Sister Pat Hummel herself has written starting in 1989 and added to periodically until quite recently.

I was born in Louisville, Ky., June 30, 1928, to Norbert Daniel and Margaret Maloney Hummel.  I was the second eldest of six children, the second of five daughters and one son.  I was baptized at St. Benedict’s Church, receiving the name Patricia.  I have no middle name.

My early education was at St. Benedict’s where my father was very active in the parish, especially in the Holy Name and St. Vincent DePaul societies.  I attended Loretto High School from which I entered the Sisters of Loretto on Oct. 25, 1946; my sister Mary Jane had entered two years earlier. 

My sister Ellen entered the Medical Mission Sisters in 1952, the year I made my final vows.  June 1954 my sister Rose Marie married Rudolph Thomas who has aunts in the Loretto congregation. That same year Rose Marie’s twin, Margaret Ann, entered the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy in Charleston, S.C. My brother, Norb, was the only child left at home but he married Jane Carol Bickett in November 1957.  All of us leaving home so close together must have been very hard on my parents, as we were a close-knit family and had enjoyed one another’s company. My parents made many visits to see us while at our respective missions.

My father died of Lou Gehrig’s disease in 1972.  My mother went to live at our Motherhouse Infirmary in 1986.  She was there for four years before her death on Dec. 1, 1990, three months shy of her 90th birthday. While at Loretto my mother was present when Margaret Ann transferred from the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy to the Sisters of Loretto in 1988.  My brother and sisters and I have been grateful for the wonderful care and treatment our mother received at Loretto.

Another person who had an impact on my life was my dear Aunt Rose, my mother’s sister, Mary Rose Maloney Berry. My mother was ill when we were children.  As Aunt Rose was not yet married,  she lived with us and took care of us  and was always very generous to us.  

I received the Loretto habit on April 25, 1947, the same day Mary Jane made her first profession. At reception, I took the name Margaret Rose after my mother and Aunt Rose and the twins.

After my profession I was assigned to Holy Family, Denver, where I taught grades 1, 2 and 4.  In 1952 when I made my final profession, I was assigned to St. Catherine’s in Pagedale, Mo.  My stay there lasted five years and I taught grades 1, 3 and 4; I was also primary coordinator as well as an unassigned assistant principal.  I taught one year at Mary, Queen of Peace, then went to the Immaculate Conception in downtown St. Louis, where I spent seven years and lived at Lafayette, which was a broadening experience.   I was forced to develop talents I didn’t know I had.  I got to meet some delightful senior sisters and to appreciate better their contribution to the congregation.   My friendship with Margaret Ann Finnie began at Lafayette and lasted until her death in November 2000.

After getting my bachelor’s degree I did extra studying and during some of those summers I did the work of the congregation such as the camp in Tennessee as well as teaching vacation school and summer school.  During the winter months while in Denver I also taught Saturday religion classes at Arvada and did the same at St. Catherine’s at Pagedale.  While at Lafayette in 1964 it was decided I should start working on a master’s degree.  Thanks to a phone call from Betty Riggs requesting me to go with her to Las Vegas, N.M., to study, and to Sister Mariella Collins granting the permission, I had the pleasure of studying at New Mexico Highlands University from 1964 to 1969.  My thesis was entitled ‘The Effects of the Frontier on the Missionary and the Missionary on the Frontier.’ The topic was chosen for me by the head of the history department because of Loretto’s long association with the Southwest.

In 1965 I took my sister Mary Jane’s place at St. Ann’s, Normandy, Mo., teaching the eighth grade. I was then assigned to St. Jerome’s in Fairdale, Ky., a semi-rural area not far from Louisville.  After five years as principal, I resigned my position, not because of the lack of success or for any other reason except the problem of worrying over finances and whether the school would remain open. 

I decided to go into the public school system and interviewed for the Louisville city system. I was offered a position as principal but I refused it.  I interviewed for the county system and was offered a position in a new integrated middle school.   Probably the most traumatic experience in the public school was the integration of black students. The city schools were, and had been, integrated since 1954.  When the county system merged with the Louisville system, integration was ordered throughout the system.  I was in an integrated county school due to the neighborhood patterns so the disturbance came from neighboring areas and not from our students.  It was strange seeing soldiers walking the halls with bayonets and rifles; they even rode the school buses.  I was never afraid with the students but going to and from school was scary at times. If you had to drive through an area where busing was being resisted, you feared stopping at a streetlight for fear of having your car shaken. My brother had a cross burned in his yard because of his work in the inner city schools; that was very scary.  All the disorder took place in the county, none in the city.  The students accepted integration much better than the adults did.

Some of the experiences I have had which have helped in my teaching are the good education I have had, the areas of the country where I have lived, and the traveling I have done. Traveling in Mexico and Ghana, West Africa, has been helpful in understanding Third World countries.  In the public schools where I taught, I have sponsored the Beta Club and National Honor Society.  I was also eighth grade team leader and chairperson at the middle school where I taught.  My students and I were involved in many community projects; consequently, I received the sisterhood-brotherhood award sponsored by the National Conference of Christians and Jews. I had been nominated by my principal, Mr. Alvin Upton, a black man.  I have traveled to a great many parts of Kentucky and Indiana seeking out historical places that I can use in teaching and helping students.  I have always subscribed to the daily papers so as to keep abreast of the news and to use the papers in my social studies classes.  Besides reading, I love to travel and have been fortunate in having lived in different parts of the country. A regret I have is that I was not accepted when I volunteered for South America.

I retired from the Jefferson County public school system in June 1993.  My decision to move to public school teaching was good for me.  My retirement has given me many opportunities to attend interesting and informative programs offered by the city universities and organizations to which I belong.

I served on the Loretto Special Needs Committee from 1991 to 1997. Shortly before my time on the committee expired, I was diagnosed with two painful diseases.  Nevertheless, I traveled to Ireland, the Alpine countries, and Wales before the decade was out.  These trips were wonderful; I just wish I could have done them when I was much younger, so that I could have used these experiences in my teaching of history.

I continue to be a member of Pi Gamma Mu, the national honor society for historians; the Filson Club of Kentucky; the Louisville Historical League; The Fellowship of Reconciliation; AARP; and the American Association of University Women.

Sister Pat Hummel moved from Louisville to the Motherhouse, 3rd floor Infirmary, in April 2011, settling into room 326 where she remained.  A letter of appreciation Pat sent to Interchange a few years before her final move gives a preview of her attitude toward her Loretto home:

Little did I know on the morning of March 7 that by late afternoon I would be planning to go to the Motherhouse to recuperate from a fall that broke my right hip and wrist. That is a decision I am glad I made. I was most graciously received by the staff and during the seven weeks I was there I received the most wonderful care.  We are indeed blessed to have such a caring, concerned and thoughtful staff in all the departments in the infirmary. Each could not do enough for me. My room was on the third floor and the Sisters there were always looking in on me to see if I needed anything – a very caring group. In this kind of atmosphere, the time passed very quickly. Those who lived at Loretto know what kind of staff we have, but for those of you who don’t, I can tell you it is a loving and caring group of people. I am eternally grateful. Thank you everyone.

Eleanor Craig SL

Eleanor Craig SL

Eleanor has been a Sister of Loretto since 1963 and an educator since birth. She studied and taught mathematics at Loretto in Kansas City, but her personal passion for adventure history has inspired her to develop and lead treks along the historic western trails (she's conducted more wagon trains along the Oregon Trail than the Mountain Men). Presently, Eleanor leads a talented staff of archivists and preservationists at the Loretto Heritage Center on the grounds of the Motherhouse.

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