Sister Patrice Colletti

Sr. Patrice Colletti


August 18, 1962

First Profession

October 1, 1989

Eternal Life

May 30, 2024

Patrice Marie Colletti, SDS daughter of Francis and Marjorie (Kautz) Colletti, was born August 18, 1962, in North Bellmore, New York, Diocese of Rockville Centre. She was the second of four children, two boys and two girls. She entered the Congregation on July 20, 1986, made her first vows on October 1, 1989, and her final profession on July 31, 1994, all in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Patrice earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education, with an emphasis in special education and early childhood education, from the College of St. Elizabeth, Morristown, New Jersey, in 1984 and began her teaching career at the Tiospa Zina Tribal School, Sisseton, South Dakota, where she became acquainted with the Sisters of the Divine Savior.

In 1992, Sister Patrice earned a Master of Arts degree in educational leadership and administration from the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in business management, with additional certification in non-profit management, from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, in 2005.

In addition to teaching, Sister Patrice’s active ministry involved directorship of several non-profit organizations, including the Milwaukee Achiever Program, the Parent Education Project of Wisconsin, and the Agape Community Center. She worked tirelessly to inform all who would listen about the scourge of human trafficking, campaigned for the responsible use of the environment, and waged an unending war against injustice and inhumanity of every kind. Elected as a delegate to the General Chapter, she helped establish the international Salvatorian Anti-Human Trafficking Committee. Deaf since early adulthood, she developed a passion for disability rights advocacy. “I came into adulthood,” she said, “right as the Americans with Disabilities Act … was beginning to have an impact. … So I experienced undergraduate school without having rights, but then professional life and graduate school as learning how to claim my rights. That’s a forever process. It’s a civil rights movement that I have the gift to be part of.”

From 2010 to 2013, she served on the Provincial Team of the Sisters of the Divine Savior. In 2015, Sister Patrice returned to Sisseton to implement the Kateri Initiative, a pastoral ministry intended to focus the Province on authentic, culturally sensitive interactions. She helped provide pastoral training and experiences to increase the Province’s cross-cultural competence. In Sisseton, she was a member of the faculty of the Tiospa Zina Tribal School, teaching, mentoring teachers, and supporting the tribal nation’s efforts at self-determination and its claim to sovereignty. In 2022, she again served on the Provincial Team, but on a part-time basis, remaining in Sisseton to continue her ministry there.

Sister Patrice was a passionate advocate of the art of listening and dialogue. In her words, “It is an intentional choice. Our formation process teaches us how to do it. Our community life necessitates it. Our presence and involvement in the neighborhoods, villages, and cities where we live and work are witnesses to this. …We listen with open hearts and minds; doing so transforms us even as it helps local people create solutions for the challenges they face.”

Over the years, Sister Patrice developed an outstanding talent for photography. Many of her photos were used to create greeting cards, and her online photo collections offered an opportunity for quiet reflection for some and delight for others.

For many years, Sister Patrice dealt with chronic back pain, and in 2022, was diagnosed with

chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, which she dealt with, as she did any other obstacle, by finding ways to work with and around the limitations it imposed. On April 26, 2024, she was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer, which was deemed inoperable. She opted for palliative care. On May 29, she was hospitalized with heavily inflamed lungs. She went home to God on May 30, 2024, at 61, and in the 34th year of profession.

The Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate members gathered to perform the high honor of a naming ceremony for her. The name they gave her is Oici mani Waokiya yuha win – “bringing help as she travels.” In a letter sent to the Tiospa Zina Tribal School community, the School Superintendent, Craig Peterson, summed up a glowing tribute to Sister Patrice when he said, “As we remember Sister Patrice, let us celebrate her life and the incredible impact she had on each of us at Tiospa Zina. Let us carry forward her legacy of love, kindness, and faith. Though she may no longer be with us in body, her spirit will continue to guide us, and her teachings will forever remain in our hearts. Rest in peace, Sister Patrice. Your light will never dim, and your love will never fade. We are eternally grateful for the gift of your life.”

She was preceded in death by her parents, Francis and Marjorie (Kautz) Colletti. She is survived by her brothers, Frank (Sun Hwa) and James, her sister, Susanne (John) Robert, nieces, nephews, her Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate family, and her Salvatorian Family.