Tell us a little about yourself and your family.
I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. I moved to Birmingham in 1981 after I got out of the Air Force and got married. I have one child, Lisa. Even though I got divorced in 1992, I remained in Birmingham because I had the sweetest Mother-in-Law, Ollie Wilson, and Lisa was her only grandchild. Ollie was Baptist but she began attending church with me and eventually became Catholic. She was in the choir with me and also participated in church activities. Unfortunately, she passed away in 2011. Both of my parents are deceased. I have one sister and two nephews in Pittsburgh.
How long have you been a member of St. Patrick?
I became a member when we were meeting at St. Catherine’s in Pratt City, right after I moved to Birmingham. I had to have a letter to confirm that I was Catholic so that I could be a godmother to my newborn nephew in Pittsburgh. I met Father Pat (Sullivan) for the first time, and he was kind enough to prepare the letter even though he had just met me. I smile when I think about him telling his secretary, Jean, to give some envelopes to me for the collection before I left. I was also impressed that he remembered my name when I received communion at Mass.
Patti relaxing on the cruise ship
Have you always been a Catholic?
I am a cradle Catholic. I lived a block away from my grade school and church in Pittsburgh. Both of my parents were Catholic. My great aunt also lived with us, and I would attend church with her whenever she went, including Tuesday night novenas.
What activities have you been involved in (currently or in the past)?
I am currently involved in The Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVdP), the Social Committee, Ladies Auxiliary and Adults for Christ. I have been on Springfest committees and have also participated in the many adult small group bible studies that have been held. It is a great way to meet other parishioners and to learn more about your faith. I was also an adult youth group leader with SPIRIT back in the 90s.
Share some of your favorite memories of being a member of St. Patrick.
Some of my best memories are from the time I spent in choir, SPIRIT, Springfest, and currently the Ladies Auxiliary. I will never forget the fun we had working on the choir’s fundraiser, the “Nifty Fifties” show under the direction of Lou Colombo, who was the choir director at that time. We have been blessed with wonderful priests, but I guess Father Vernon will win the category of best dancing priest and throwing the best parties at church!!!
What St. Patrick people have touched your life (current or past members)?
The adult leaders during my time in SPIRIT are very special to me. We worked so well together, and I considered them family since I lived so far from home. Catherine Barrett was also very special to me. I still miss seeing her at church.
What else would you like us to know?
I am a proud Veteran of the United States Air Force. After my divorce, I decided to continue my military career and enlisted with the 117th Air National Guard/Medical Squadron. I retired with 21 years of service in 2011.