Marymount’s Sr. Patricia Helene Earl retiring after 26 years of service

Marymount’s Sr. Patricia Helene Earl retiring after 26 years of service

After 26 years of dedicated service, primarily as the Director of Marymount University’s Catholic School Leadership Program (CSLP), Sr. Patricia Helene Earl will retire from the institution this month. 

Sr. Patricia’s Marymount journey began not as a faculty member but as a student. During her youth, she attended Marymount’s Junior School for eight years. After earning her bachelor’s degree from Dunbarton College of the Holy Cross, she taught at St. Thomas More with the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) Sisters and eventually joined their congregation. She then returned to Marymount’s Junior School as a teacher and headmistress from 1982 to 1985. Later, motivated by her passion and spiritual calling to teach religious education in Catholic schools, she joined Marymount University to helm the CSLP within the School of Education. 

The program was established to prepare individuals for roles as principals and other administrative positions in Catholic schools locally and nationwide. Now in its 23rd year, the CSLP has graduates hailing from over 40 states and four countries. 

“Sr. Patricia has kept the entire School of Education focused on our Catholic identity as a University,” said Dr. Lisa Turissini, Director of Marymount’s School of Education and a colleague of Sr. Patricia for 15 years. “She has dedicated her life to the Lord and being of service to all God’s people.” 

Marymount’s Sr. Patricia Helene Earl retiring after 26 years of service

During her tenure, Sr. Patricia has served on many academic committees and campus organizations such as the Ethics Committee, Rank and Tenure Committee and Academic Integrity Committee. She also chaired the Catholic Identity Committee for numerous years. At the CSLP summer opening Mass and at services throughout the year, she can be seen in the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary Chapel singing near the piano or assisting the University Chaplain as Sacristan, reader and Eucharistic Minister. 

“She has the gift as an educator – service, integrity, focus. It means knowledge, openness, warmth and welcoming,” shared Sr. Jacqueline Murphy, RSHM. “She can help people see the other side of the person.” 

Her contributions to Catholic education have garnered notable recognition. Sr. Patricia received the Youth Ministry Ex Corde Award in 2016 from the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, and the Alfred Koob Award in 2020 from the National Catholic Education Association. Both honors recognize longstanding contributions and excellence in Catholic education.    

“Sister Patricia’s emphasis on the spiritual foundation of successful leadership in Catholic schools is something that stands out particularly in my mind,” said Dr. Joseph Vorbach, Superintendent of Schools for the Catholic Diocese of Arlington and a 2013 CSLP graduate. “She’s had a remarkable impact, and the positive effects of her labors will continue to ripple across the diocese in the form of new school leaders ready to guide their schools because of their preparation at Marymount.” 

Marymount’s Sr. Patricia Helene Earl retiring after 26 years of service

Sr. Patricia has spread her message far and wide over the years. She showcased her deep love for Catholic education in 2020 as she published her fourth book, Building the Builders: Faith Formation in Prayer, A Journey with Jesus through Mary. It serves as a sequel to her other books on faith formation in virtue and spirituality, and offers essential skills to Catholic educators preparing for classroom and school leadership roles. She currently resides at Saint James Convent with other IHM sisters and enjoys walking their community rescue dog, Shadow.

Reflecting on her time at Marymount, she rejoices over her graduates’ successes, hoping that Marymount’s Catholic identity will continue to grow stronger with each passing year. 

“Be grateful to the Lord for the gifts and talents He has given to you” Sr. Patricia advises. “Even in difficult times, try to appreciate the gift of each day to have life, health and the chance to be there for others.”