Sister Patricia Catherine Harrison (Harasym), SSMI
1917 — 2017

Sr. Patricia Harrison left us to meet her Lord at 11:00 am, September 29, 2017, in Mundare, Alberta at Mary Immaculate Health Care Centre, one month after her 100th birthday.


Her life

Catherine (Sr. Patricia) was born in McKim, Saskatchewan, on August 29, 1917, daughter of Stephen Harasym and Thecla (nee Potrilecka).

The call of God is clearer to some people than others. At about 5 years of age, Catherine predicted, in a conversation with her brother, that she would one day become a Sister, and spoke of it again a few years later, again in a prophetic manner. Catherine entered the novitiate of the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate in Mundare, Alberta, on January 9, 1937, taking the name Sister Patricia. She made first profession of vows on July 22, 1939, and final profession, August 15, 1945.

Sr. Patricia received her Teachers’ Certification in Saskatoon, before entering the Congregation. Thus, she taught from her earliest years of formation until her retirement in 1966 – a total of 28 years. She taught in Alberta (Mundare, Edmonton), Saskatchewan (Ituna, Saskatoon, Prince Albert), Manitoba (Winnipeg), and Ontario (Windsor, Toronto, Kitchener). Throughout her many years in the teaching ministry, she also touched many young hearts in the catechetical ministry, through sacramental preparation in the various parishes she served, youth ministries such as sodality, summer catechisms, and camps.


Demonstrating her musical abilities as a violinist, even prior to entering, Sister Patricia later studied music formally, ultimately certifying as an Associate of Music (A. Mus.) in 1971 with the Conservatory of Western Ontario, to teach piano. She used this skill to teach private lessons in Winnipeg, Ancaster, Toronto and Calgary, returning to Winnipeg for her longest stationing, from 1972-2001. In 1973, she also took studies in, and later also taught, guitar. The teaching of Music theory also always accompanied her practical lessons. In all, she taught music for over 35 years.

Sr. Patricia’s temperament was steady, prudent and well-disciplined. While this was helpful for her ministry of teaching music, it also proved beneficial in her sharing of the gospel. One night, the home she lived in was broken into, and the perpetrator found himself in her bedroom. Quite unflapped, she began to scold him, then to tell him of God’s love for him – that that was why what he was doing was wrong, – and he went away peacefully, repentant, a changed man.


In her leisure time, Sr. Patricia liked to paint, and would freely give her original works to anyone who expressed admiration for her work. Among her favourite themes were the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary; she also had a collection of works on the life of Christ. She also would use this skill to repair statuary in the homes where she lived. She also made rosaries, both with beads and with knotted rope, and also enjoyed reading.

In July of 2001, she retired at the Mundare Hospital Community, later moving to St. Joseph’s Home, and eventually to Mary Immaculate Health Care Centre, where her health needs could be best met. She celebrated her 100th birthday among her Sisters and a number of loving nieces and nephews, and lived one month longer, before her Lord called her to Himself.

Sr. Patricia was predeceased by her parents, Stephen and Thecla, brothers, Bill, Peter, Henry and Nicholas, half-brothers John and Mike, and sisters Jessie and Mary, half-sisters Anne and Julia. She is survived and will be dearly missed by numerous nieces and nephews, and by the Sisters Servants.

Her funeral


A funeral for Sister Patricia Harrison was held at St. Joseph’s Home Chapel, on Wednesday, October 4, 2017. The Sisters prayed the Rosary at 09:30 am. Father Ireneus Prystajecky, OSBM, celebrated Divine Litugry at 10:00 am, followed by panakhyda and final viewing.

Pall bearers were nephews Patrick and Harvey Harrison, both of Regina, SK, niece Patricia (Harris) Reid, and her husband, Gerry Reid, of Quadra Island, BC, and Allan Paltzat and Victor Firmaniuk, friends of the Sisters, both of Vegreville, AB. She was interred at Saints Peter and Paul Ukrainian Catholic Church Cemetery, in Mundare, AB. Following the burial, a dinner was served at St. Joseph’s Home, with 30 guests attending.

Donations may still be made to the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate, in memory of Sister Patricia.

Hear Sr. Patricia speak briefly on her vocation. Click on the bottom right of screen to view in full screen.

Part 11
(at 7 sec)