Ruth Fitzpatrick Celebrates 25 Years as a Loretto Co-member
(Editor’s Note: Information from Mary Hunt, friend of Loretto, and from Ruth’s son, John Fitzpatrick, via Jeannine Gramick)
Mary Hunt writes, “Ruth McDonough Fitzpatrick made a signal contribution through her leadership of the Women’s Ordination Conference (WOC) and participation in the Women-Church Convergence. She led with great enthusiasm and savvy.” Mary Louise Denny recalls that Ruth represented WOC in the 1980s and early 1990s when Mary Louise and Virginia Williams represented the Loretto Women’s Network.
John Fitzpatrick says that the WOC office “started around our dining table.” He continues, “She made clear it was her strong faith and love of the Catholic Church that compelled her to work for its betterment, to include the ordination of women.” She liked to point out that Jesus did not ordain women but neither did he ordain men.
John says, “Through her words and deeds, she taught her children to speak out against injustice and stand up for what we believe to be morally right. She strongly believed in giving voice to the poor and oppressed.”
She is part of a military family so she lived in several places around the globe. This gave her a “big picture” view of the world. As Hunt says, “She led tours of Rome, the proverbial guide with an umbrella, so she knew the ins and outs of the Vatican and environs, a useful skill for WOC work.”
Vivian Doremus remembers Ruth from Community Group meetings at Vivian’s house. She says, “Cordial and hearty as ever, Ruth was super allergic to cats. Of course, my princely miniature Siamese, Lucky, took this as his cue that he would befriend her.”
Vivian continues that they soon discovered that they were both Army brats and that they “shared many good stories and laughs” over their similar experiences.
Hunt continues, “Ruth’s artistic ability, especially sculpture and painting, gave her great joy. Her keen sense of humor was on display in our annual Halloween ‘pumpkin caper’ when we left painted pumpkins bearing mitres on the wall outside of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
“She is in a nursing home in suburban Virginia at this writing. While she is not her old articulate self, we hope that in this liminal time she knows in some measure how deeply she is held in the heart of Loretto.”