Sister Patricia Wieloch, SDS (formerly Sr. Salesia) spent her early years in ministry doing a variety of domestic tasks for a variety of SDS-sponsored institutions throughout Wisconsin. Then in 1983, after a month-long sabbatical at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, she began a ministry that kept her in Portage, Wis. for the next 27 years. After completing a nursing assistant course, she began serving in that capacity at Divine Savior Nursing Home in Portage. She continued to grow in her ministry until she retired in 2010. She participated in workshops on patients’ rights, communications and community building, residents’ rights, patient confidentiality & privacy, aging, dementia, and fire and safety.
Sr. Pat loved working with the elderly to care for their grooming, exercise and other needs of daily living. She spoke of her ministry, saying, “I deeply love the elderly and am privileged when I can visit them, assist them, help them know that they are loved and are very special people. I know they are very close to God and I find God’s presence in being with them.”
Sr. Pat grew up in Wausau, Wis. in the Diocese of La Crosse. She was one of three children born to Jacob & Regina (Richey) Wieloch. Sr. Pat attended St. Michael’s grade school where she was taught by Felician Sisters. She and her two brothers, Alex and John, stayed with their grandmother during the week and returned home on weekends. She had many memories of going to St. Mary’s Hospital in Wausau to visit her mother at work. It was there she met Salvatorian Sister Bernice Binversie in the kitchen, and Sisters Theophilia Huber, Andrew Deheck and Ignatius Rosing who worked in the laundry.
During the summer months, Sr. Pat went to West Bend to help her aunt, Sister Anne Richey at St. Joseph Hospital. She helped clean and serve meal trays, and Sister Loretta Feder even invited her to help with “prayer times” in the chapel. When she looked back on those times Sr. Pat said, “Caring for these special people of God attracted me to Salvatorian life.” And, it was Sr. Loretta who gently dropped hints about religious life. Sr. Pat was also inspired by Sister Salesia Roppelt’s kindness, and later received Salesia as her religious name.
Sr. Patricia entered the Sisters of the Divine Savior in Milwaukee on September 1, 1947 and was received into the novitiate on August 12, 1949. She pronounced her first vows on August 13, 1950 and perpetual vows on August 13, 1956. She was professed 70 years as a Salvatorian Sister.
Beginning in 1976, Sr. Pat served as coordinator for elder Salvatorian Sisters at St. Mary’s Convent in St. Nazianz, Wis. Back then, host baking was a major ministry, along with gardening and preserving the orchard fruit crop. For a time after moving to Portage, Sr. Pat visited and later helped care for Sister Beverly Heitke’s mother when Sr. Beverly had to be away or travel abroad. In gratitude for her dedication after Mrs. Heitke passed away, the Heitke family gave Sr. Pat a trip to Rome, headquarters of the SDS worldwide Congregation.
Sr. Pat was grateful for her years in retirement when she enjoyed leisure activities including puzzles, walking, reading, listening to music and doing yard work. She also continued to help in transporting residents to weekly Mass, and called it her “special time of the week.” Years later, as she selected Scripture readings for her funeral, Sister Pat reflected on Ecclesiastes’ “There is a time for everything …”, and said, “Every day is a time to show Christ or bring Christ to others.”
Sr. Patricia is survived by her brother John and her Salvatorian Family. Her parents, brother Alex, and her aunt Sister Anne Richey preceded her in death. Private services were held.