“You will seek me and when you seek me with your whole heart, you will find me. You will pray to me and I will listen to you. I know the plans I have in mind for you, plans for your welfare and not misfortune. Plans that will give you a future full of Hope!”
Sister Patricia Y. Vayda, SJH, age 81 years, of Holland Township, NJ, went home to the loving arms of Jesus on Monday, June 19, 2017 at the Lopatcong Care Center, Phillipsburg, NJ.
Born on September 18, 1935 in New York City, NY, daughter of the late Albert and Genevieve McMahon Vayda, Sister Patricia (or Sister Pat as most knew her), earned her B.A. in Education from Mercy College at Marymount, then went on to obtain her M.A./M.S.W. in Social Work from Fordham University.
Her life of service to the Lord began with her baptism and was solidified in 1953 when she entered the Sisters of Mercy, Tarrytown, NY. She worked as an Elementary School Teacher for the City of New York from 1958-1967, when she then became a Social Worker and later a Supervisor in Staten Island, NY. She held that position until 1975 when she moved to Convent Station, NJ, where she became part of the House of Prayer and Renewal Center. She served for ten years and in 1985, was called to become the Deanery Coordinator of Social Ministry for the Diocese of Metuchen, NJ, a position she held until 1987. She then moved to Our Lady of Mt. Virgin in Middlesex, NJ and served again as Coordinator of Social Ministry.
1992 saw another spiritual awakening for Sister Pat as she helped to establish, and then enter the order of the Sisters of Jesus Our Hope, based out of the Diocese of Metuchen. In 1994, she began her tenure as Director of Religious Education at Immaculate Conception Church, Annandale, NJ, a position she held until 2000, when she came to St. Magdalen de Pazzi Church in Flemington, NJ where she served as Director of Religious Education from 2000-2005, as well as Director of Social Ministry from 2000-2017.
Sister Pat was particularly proud of her accomplishments with the “Homebound Program” and the “Hope House” ministry while at St. Magdalen’s. Hope House is a social outreach ministry which distributes food, furniture, clothing, and other miscellaneous items to those in need. Sister Pat described Hope House in an article once as a ministry, which not only provides for the physical, but first and foremost the spiritual needs of souls. When someone in need reached out, Sister Pat met with the person, listened to their story, and sought to provide counsel. She oversaw a dedicated group of parishioners who help with the food pantry, staffed the office, and did whatever was needed to serve. She would often remind everyone that those who came through the door were Jesus in disguise.
“Doing the will of God; I want only what he wants,” was a phrase that most who knew Sister Pat, heard her express frequently. She lived a life of joyful hope and her trust and faith in Jesus is what guided her actions. Her life of prayer and reflection on God’s word and his love, lead her to be extremely gifted in her social work practice.
As an extremely humble servant of the Lord, tireless and steadfast in serving all of God’s people, she had the keen ability to always, “be present” to the person she was dealing with, and was always cognizant of the needs of others.
She was known to be extremely devoted to spending time in the Chapel with her beloved Jesus, who was the heart of her life, and as she would often tell her Sisters, she was “the apple of his eye.” The love she had for him was fresh and new each day, like a young love where one yearns to know and discover all they can about the other; this is what Sister Pat sought to accomplish through prayer: to help discover Jesus more fully and to be able to follow his will to the best of her ability.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by a sister and brother-in-law, Joan and Thomas Martin, as well as by a sister, Sister Virginia Vayda, who was a member of the order of the Madams of the Sacred Heart.
Surviving are her cherished family in the community of the Sisters of Jesus Our Hope; countless clergy whom she considered as family over the years, especially Rev. Timothy Christy, who came to St. Magdalen at the same time as Sister Pat did, as well as Rev. John Barbella, who was the one who brought Sister Pat to the St. Magdalen community; her immediate family, all of whom she had a tremendous love and affection for, including her nephews and nieces, Thaddeus Martin and his wife, Kerry, Mary McGlaughlin and her husband, John, Gerard Martin and his wife, Christine and Genevieve Kelly and her husband, Steven; several grand nieces and grand nephews and great grand nieces; and countless friends throughout the community.
Sister Pat lived with a desire to become a Saint, and in doing so, put her complete trust and heart into Jesus with whom she now has earned her just reward, no doubt hearing the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25). Her dedication to Jesus, his Church throughout the world and her endless desire to bringing his love into this world, will not soon be forgotten.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be concelebrated by Rev. Timothy Christy and Rev. John Barbella on Thursday, June 22, 2017 at 10:30 a.m. in St. Magdalen Church, 105 Mine Street, Flemington, NJ 08822 under the care and direction of Wright & Ford Family Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 38 State Highway 31, Flemington NJ. Everyone is invited to meet directly at the church on Thursday morning beginning at 10:15 a.m.
Following Mass, a reception in Sister Pat’s honor will take place at the Parish Center from 12:00-1:30 p.m.
The funeral procession will depart at 1:30 p.m. for burial in the plot of the Sisters of Jesus Our Hope, located in St. Mary’s Cemetery, 830 Fifth Avenue, Alpha, NJ 08865.
Sister Patricia will lie in repose at St. Magdalen Church on Wednesday, June 21, 2017 from 4:00-8:00 p.m. There will be a Rosary Service at 7:00 p.m. followed by a Vigil Service thereafter. All are welcome to attend.
Please visit Sister Pat’s permanent memorial site at www.wrightfamily.com to send a public or private message of condolence and to share stories and photographs of her life.
In lieu of flowers, those wishing to make contributions may do so to the Sisters of Jesus Our Hope, 376 Bellis Road, Bloomsbury, NJ 08804.