Pat McKenzie, SNJM
I was born in Seattle, WA and raised in Portland, OR, the third of four children. Mom: Mary Violet and Dad: William A. McKenzie believed in Catholic education and sacrificed much to help build a Catholic school at St. Rita’s parish in the Parkrose area of Portland.
One of my earliest and favorite memories of my mom is kneeling by the bed saying her rosary, no matter how late it was. The faith both mom and dad had meant so much to them and they not only talked about it, they lived it.
Our neighborhood was very simple – no sidewalks, lots of trees and at least 2 vacant lots and a half acre for a backyard. There was plenty of time and space to play, daydream and just be.
The good sisters at Holy Child Academy inspired me to look into the “life of a nun”. I applied to the Holy Names sisters and met Mother Mark at the old St. Mary’s Academy. I was working downtown and buying clothes like crazy! And now I am completely in love with my Holy Names community and our Marylhurst campus and chapel.
I taught grade school for twenty years and spent fifteen years as St. Mary’s Academy attendance secretary. As a sophomore responded to a question by her mom, “What does Sr. Pat do?” Her daughter responded with “She is our mom away from home.”
I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1997 while I was the attendance secretary (a job I loved). A severe back pain was a challenge (4 surgeries in 5 years), from 2004 until 2011. I am in acceptable health and now retired.
I am grateful to my mom, dad, sister Maureen, brothers Mike and John as well as all my nephews and nieces for their love a support.