Sister Pat Tobin, Sister of Charity, while born in Dorchester, MA spent all of her ministry years as a Sister of Charity in the New York area. She started out as a grade school teacher at Our Lady of the Cenacle in Richmond Hill. From there she was assigned to Our Lady of Angels where there were 2,700 students enrolled in the school. One of her fourth-grade students remembers her looking down on him saying “ I guess there are times you just have to fight,” and she gave him a hug he has never forgotten.
She received a degree in Special Education and began teaching students in Special Ed at Resurrection-Ascension School in Rego Park commuting each day from Bay Ridge. In 1973, she began a new ministry at Conklin Residence on 67th Street. Eventually, she and Sister Natalie Morris became full-time Managers at Conklin Residence. For her this was a twenty-four-hour ministry and she loved doing it. She and Sister Natalie would take them on vacation each summer, whether it be the Jersey Shore or the Pocono Mountains and have a great time.
She retired from Conklin Residence in 2002 but kept in touch with and became an advocate for seniors in Bay Ridge. One said when she heard that Sister Pat had died that she had lost a “good friend”. That’s what Sister was – a good friend and faithful friend and a dedicated Sister of Charity.
Sister Pat, along with Sister Natalie were handed the task of caring for ten developmentally disabled adults in the FIRST group home that opened in NY State. They ran the residence in a strict, but loving manner. The individuals, whose parents painstakingly made the decision to place their child in a group home setting, were transformed from dependent “children” to independent “adults” through the guidance of Sisters Pat and Natalie, and many dedicated parents at the Guild For Exceptional Children. Many of the individuals who were the first residents of Conklin have pre-deceased Sister Pat, and some are still living there. I saw Sister Pat a few weeks ago at a Funeral Mass for one of our longtime Guild individuals. She was assisting one of her “kids”, who is now in her late 60’s, out of the Church. I watched the loving interaction between them, and was so touched by it. My admiration and respect for Sister Pat will be echoed tomorrow by the many people who will attend her Funeral Mass at Our Lady of Angels in Brooklyn, NY.
I had Sr. Patricia Michael in 5th grade at OLA. That was 1962/63. She was tough but I got along with her. Years later in 1970, I volunteered at the Conklin Home and once again worked with her. She was wonderful with the disabled residents. It was an experience I will never forget.
I was just recently informed of Sister Pat’s death. I am saddened. I was a State Inspector for Conklin House. Sr Pat and Sr Natalie didn’t operate a “Group Home”. They raised a Family.
I was blessed to know them and to visit their home.
Fred Wetzel, Ph.D.