Sister Patricia Schofield
Ministry: Hospice Chaplain, St. Francis Healthcare System, Honolulu, Hawaii
As a teenager, Patricia Schofield was drawn to the faith-based mission of Catholic health care while serving as a volunteer at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Utica, New York. Walking in the footsteps of our St. Marianne Cope who helped establish the hospital more than a century ago, Patricia delivered food to patients in their rooms.
Through the years, Patricia was married, and while raising her family, taught school in the Utica public system for 30 years. Inspired by the Franciscan way of life, in 1990 she became a Secular Franciscan, embracing the mission of the lay Catholic order by living the Gospel and bringing its values to life where she lived and worked.
Then God called Patricia to a deeper level of commitment and she said “yes.” In 2004, she professed her final vows and became a member of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities. During this time, she served as a pastoral minister at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse, New York, where our St. Marianne had also served as administrator.
Today, at St. Francis Healthcare System in Honolulu, Hawaii, Sister Pat continues the legacy of St. Marianne as she extends Jesus’ mission of healing and love to patients who are in the final stage of their lives.
As a hospice chaplain, Sister Pat cares for the spiritual needs of patients and their families. She listens to their fears and concerns and strives to relieve any spiritual pain they might be experiencing. “I listen to them, and bring them the comfort and joy they need at that time,” she says.
According to the Catholic Healthcare Association of the United States, pastoral/spiritual care is an essential element in Catholic health ministry. Yet, looking toward the future, those currently serving as chaplains are aging, and there might not be an adequate number of persons able to take their places. As the ministry grapples with this challenge, Sister Pat says she envisions that church parishioners can be trained to provide spiritual care with hospice.
Reaching out to others in the spirit of St. Francis, Sister Pat also works with the Franciscan Associate Program and the congregation’s vocations ministry. She is committed to helping others understand God’s love for them and inviting others to share in the joy of doing God’s work.