Sister Pat Rhoten, OSU: “Sister Pat is a true Ursuline educator.”

After meeting with Sister Victoria and expressing her desire to become an Ursuline sister, Pat graduated from Lourdes High and then began her novitiate at Mount Saint Joseph on September 8, 1962. Her education continued at the Mount Saint Joseph Academy and Brescia College.

At the Mount, two of her classmates were Sister Mary Lois Speaks and Sister Mary Celine Weidenbenner.

Sister Pat works closely with school finance secretary Geneva Tombrello (left) and school secretary Nancy Miller.

Sister Mary Lois says of her classmate and longtime friend, “Sister Pat has always been uniquely and inimitably herself! Her personality makes her the center of the gathering no matter the size – whether whole community or just the ‘threesome’ which is now our class. I’ve admired her aesthetic skills as well as those of organization and efficiency.”

She continues, “Her personal work ethic is a ‘give all’ stance as she tirelessly applies every effort to complete a task thoroughly, accomplishing much before sometimes nearly collapsing. She’s always different, always a friend, and always lovable!”

Sister Mary Celine says, “Sister Pat is usually upbeat and sees the positive. She encourages the best in you and is organized, organized, organized! But playing the card game Pedro is another matter. I usually make the high bid when we are partners and she really sweats!”

Sister Pat began her teaching career after one semester of her senior year at Brescia, teaching all subjects to second graders for the second semester at the Flaherty, Kentucky, public school. She then finished her senior year at Brescia and earned her degree that summer.

It was back to the classroom that fall, teaching all subjects to third, fourth and fifth graders at Fairfield, but for only one year. The school closed.

Sister Pat is joined at a school fundraiser by, in front, Rhonda Feldt, and Milton and Cindy Van Natta. Milton is president of the Cathedral School school board. Rhonda’s son, Christian, is one of Sister Pat’s eighth-grade students this school year.

Sister Pat taught all subjects to fourth graders at Saint Francis School in Loretto for one year, then moved on to Saint Thomas More in Paducah for three years, teaching second graders for two years and third graders for one.

She taught fourth graders at Seven Holy Founders in Saint Louis for two years before moving into administration for the first time. Sister Annalita Lancaster, mother superior at the time, named Sister Pat principal at Saint Pius X School in Owensboro. She served as principal and full-time eighth grade teacher at Saint Pius X for five years.

After one year teaching freshman religion and sophomore literature at the Mount Saint Joseph Academy and two years as principal and full-time teacher of sixth, seventh and eighth graders at Saint Romuald at Hardinsburg, Sister Pat returned home to Nebraska City.

She was named principal and sixth-grade teacher at Lourdes Elementary School where, she says, “I taught kids of the boys I dated in high school.” She spent 10 years in Nebraska City, teaching high school algebra her 10th year there.

After taking a three-month sabbatical to Maggie Valley in North Carolina, Sister Pat returned to work as an assistant to Sister Ruth Gehres, president of Brescia College. She assisted Sister Ruth for two years and then assisted Sister Ruth’s replacement – Sister Vivian Bowles – for sixth months before returning to the classroom.

Sister Carol Shively was principal at Saint Teresa School in Glennonville and Sacred Heart in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, and was in need of a sixth-grade teacher. She called on Sister Pat, and at the start of the second semester, Sister Pat was teaching sixth graders at Sacred Heart.

Ironically, just over 10 years earlier, when Sister Carol was beginning her teaching career at Saint Romuald School in Hardinsburg, Sister Pat was her principal.