Patricia Margaret DeBlieck, CSJ, 80

Patricia DeBlieck

This courageously persistent woman of immense generosity and faith was born on March 17, 1938, and died peacefully on July 30, 2018.  A daughter of Belgian immigrants, Harry and Margaret (Beeusaert) DeBlieck, Sister Margaret Rose (Patricia) grew up on a farm in Murray County, Shetek Township, Minnesota.

During her first year at the College of St. Catherine, she heard a sermon that changed her life and prompted her to enter the community of the Sisters of St. Joseph.  In 1964, Sister Patricia earned a BS in Nursing and Psychology from St. Catherine University and later an MS in Maternal Infant Nursing from the University of Utah, and certification from the American College of Nurse Midwifes in Washington, D.C., as a Certified Nurse Midwife in 1972.

Her early years of nursing were spent at St. Joseph’s Hospital in St. Paul, St. Mary’s Hospital in Minneapolis and St. Michael’s Hospital in Grand Forks, ND.  Believing her work was always an extension of her ministry as a Sister of St. Joseph and knowing the greatest need for her skill set would take her to some of the poorest areas of the US, Patricia headed to Holmes County, MS and later to Hidalgo County, along the US Mexico border in Texas.  There she spent the next 41 years greeting and treating 60 to 80 pregnant women nearly every day.  In recognition of Patricia’s outstanding work concerning the health of these indigent mothers and their children, the March of Dimes named her Maternal and Infant Nurse of the Year, in 1986.  Of her work she wrote:  “Working with these (as young as 12) mothers and their babies has helped me to help the mother realize their importance as an individual.  And that ties in with my religious beliefs that each person is important in the eyes of God.”

Patricia’s parents had never intended to call her “Patricia” however, when she came into this world on St. Patrick’s Day, how could they not?

When Patricia was in the 4H Club, she won Blue Ribbons for showing a baby calf and food preparation.

The one thing she hated was a computer that wouldn’t work!

No one was a stranger to Patricia.  When we moved into Carondelet Village after being gone so long, her usual thing was to go up to everyone, clerk, housekeeper, resident, newspaper deliverer, mailman, and sister and say, “I’m Sister Patricia DeBlieck, and who are you?”  She studied the pictures in our directory to make sure she could identify every sister.  She knew everyone—and everyone knew her.  It was a great gift!

She was a “birder” and talked about them so much she got others into bird watching as well.  She could identify hundreds of them.

She never learned to say “NO” and was always willing to help anyone.

Patricia is preceded in death by her parents.  She is survived by brother Richard DeBlieck; uncle Norman DeBlieck; aunt Patricia DeBlieck; godson Bruce DeBlieck; numerous cousins; many devoted friends; and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and Consociates.

Mass of Christian Burial was held at 11 a.m., Monday, August 6, 2018 at Our Lady of the Presentation Chapel, 1884 Randolph Avenue, St. Paul, MN with visitation at 10 a.m. preceding Mass, and burial at Resurrection Cemetery in Mendota Heights, MN.

Sister Patricia, rest in love and peace.