Family Login:

Sister Helen Patricia Burke, C.S.C.
  • August 10, 1920 - February 7, 2017
  • Notre Dame, Indiana

Share This Obituary

Sister Patricia Burke died on Tuesday, February 7, 2017 at Saint Mary's Convent, Notre Dame, Indiana having lived a full life as a missionary Sister of the Holy Cross, nurse and anesthetist. She recently celebrated the seventy-fifth anniversary of her First Profession of Vows (Feb. 2, 1942). Sister Patricia, a.k.a. Sister Loyola, nursed on three continents: North America, Asia, and Africa. She served 19 years in Catholic hospitals in the United States in Salt Lake City, Boise, San Fernando, and Fresno; nearly eight years in East Pakistan (Bangladesh); and 22 years in Uganda. The Sisters of the Holy Cross in Uganda, currently observing the golden jubilee of their mission, consider Sister Patricia one of their founding members. Of East Africa she wrote, "From 1968 to 1986, I experienced two civil wars, seven presidents and two military governments." Despite the civil strife, she and the other sisters and laity were able to set up clinics and hospitals in Fort Portal, Bugomba, and Mbarra dispensing the most basic healthcare when "Surgical operations were done by sunlight or at night by kerosene lantern or flashlight." Back in her home country, though retired, Sister Pat continued to hold high the lantern for her beloved "pearl of Africa." Memorial contributions may be made to the Sisters of the Holy Cross Ministry with the Poor Fund, Saint Mary's, Notre Dame, IN 46556 or online at where you can read more about Sister.
Reception of the body at the Church of Our Lady of Loretto will be Wednesday, February 15 at 10:30 a.m., followed by the Mass of the Resurrection at 1:30 p.m. Kaniewski Funeral Home is handling arrangements.