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About Patricia Aidan Lynch

  201-541-5900    |      cancer@holyname.org


Patricia Aidan Lynch

Sister Patricia Aidan Lynch was a nun, a nurse and an administrator. She was also an unflagging voice for the poor and a fighter against injustice. Before, during, and after serving as the President and CEO of Holy Name Medical Center from 1964 to 1969 and again from 1987 to 1997, she never wavered in her quest to make health care accessible to the underserved while ensuring the latest medical advancements were available to all patients.

Sr. Patricia was born Elizabeth Agnes Lynch on December 12, 1925 in County Kerry, Ireland, the fourth of 13 children. She attended a Catholic high school and then worked in a rectory. But she attributed her vocation to her home life, where her parents loved each other deeply and provided a peaceful environment for her and her siblings. Most importantly, the family prayed together daily.

At only 17, Sr. Patricia knew she was being called to serve the Lord and became an aspirant in 1943. By 1945, she left her homeland but continued on her pious path and became a novice in Nottingham, England. Five years later, Sr. Patricia took her final vows for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace at St. Michael Novitiate in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.

Highly intelligent and interested in furthering her education, Sr. Patricia felt she could help more people if she entered the medical field. She graduated from the Holy Name School of Nursing, earned her B.S.N. from Catholic University, and her Master's in Hospital Administration from St. Louis University. She became a Fellow of the American College of Hospital Administrators in 1965.

The good works Sr. Patricia accomplished in her life are a lengthy, impressive list. Among her most significant achievements were helping to bring the brightest and most dedicated physicians and staff to Holy Name, assisting with the renovations of the Novitiate at St. Michael's into an infirmary/residence for retired sisters, establishing the Sisters' Retirement Trust Fund and helping the nuns enroll in Social Security.

But perhaps what made Sr. Patricia most memorable wasn't just her remarkable capability as much as her generous spirit. Sr. Theresette Hunting knew Sr. Patricia for more than 20 years and for six of those, served as her administrative assistant.

"She was magnanimous and full of life, fun-loving and had a great love of children," Sr. Theresette said. "But most of all, she had the rare quality of presence – she was totally focused on the person(s) she was with or whatever she was doing."

Sr. Agnes Fox also knew Sr. Patricia for years and talks about how extraordinary she was, both personally and in her many official capacities.

"She knew how to navigate the political landscape, cultivating an easy rapport with politicians," Sr. Agnes said. "She was also an avid sports fan, a music lover and she loved to dance."

A newspaper reporter detailed, "Sr. Patricia knew the value of the human touch, the hand placed on the shoulder, the exuberant hug, the warm handshake. She would bring comfort to the families of accident victims in the emergency room at 2 a.m. She was driven by the question, 'What are the needs of the community.'"

In 1987, Sr. Patricia was diagnosed with cancer and given six months to live. She continued volunteering her time and energy to places like Gilda's Club, helping to renovate the group's building in Hackensack. She lived more than a decade after her prognosis, dying on April 19, 2002.

Sr. Patricia is remembered as much for her contributions to so many lives as her indomitable spirit and tell–it–like–it–is manner and sharp wit. Near her final days, she spoke with Michael Maron, who was taking over the position of President and CEO of Holy Name. She asked him to come closer to her bedside, grabbed his lapel and whispered, "This is your job now, Mike. Don't blow it."