Sister Pat Brady, OP was an educator par excellence and a tremendous visionary.
After many years as a teacher and administrator in our Dominican schools, and being a pro-active educator, Pat realized that our schools, which at one time were completely staffed by sisters, now had very few if any sisters on their faculties. She also realized that in the years to come, the number of sisters would dwindle until the faculties were completely staffed by lay teachers. The question came to her, “Who would teach our students about the Dominican charism? Who would pass on our rich history to the next generations of students who attended Dominican High Schools?”
Pat decided to begin a new venture with our Dominican High Schools. In 1999, she invited all the Dominican High Schools to send representatives (both faculty and students) to what she called a “pilot program” to introduce the Dominican charism to high school students. The conference would be held in Chicago and would last for a week. Ten schools decided to attend. Thus began “The Dominican High Schools Preaching Conference” that has been serving our Dominican High Schools and their students for the past 21 years.
During this time there was a movement to create a volunteer organization that would focus on Dominican ministries and allow the young volunteers to live in community with professed Dominican sisters. So, from the former Apostolic Volunteer program, which was a Sinsinawa Dominican venture, came the newly formed Dominican Volunteers USA. This was another way to continue to pass on our Dominican charism to our young people. Pat was intricately involved in the evolution of this program and became the chairperson of the first Dominican Volunteer USA board of directors.
Some years after the Dominican HS Preaching Conference was begun, Pat saw another need. Our Dominican High Schools, which had evolved as Pat had anticipated, needed to have an organization that could help educate and train the growing lay administrations and faculties. So together with the sponsoring congregations of our high schools and the sisters who were still in administrative positions in those schools Pat help found what is currently known as the Dominican Association of Secondary Schools or DASS. Pat was the initial director of that organization and held that position for at least 5 years.
Yes, Pat Brady lived and breathed DOMINICAN life. It was in her blood. Recently when I visited her during the 2019 High School Preaching Conference held in Adrian, Michigan, she spent the time telling me what still needs to be done … and exactly how I was to do it!!
I will miss her enthusiasm, her great sense of humor, but most of all her WISDOM! Yes, the Order has lost a great Dominican but those of us who were mentored by her will do our best to carry on her FIRE FOR THE CHARISM!
Sister Gina Fleming, OP Executive Director Dominican Youth Movement USA