Taking vows to any religious order requires a deep commitment to not only the mission of the order, but in a more general way, to doing God’s work on earth.
The latest addition to the Sisters of Divine Compassion, Sr. Patricia Warner, feels the rewards far outweigh the setbacks of giving to others, something she has been doing her entire life.
In fact, when Warner joined the Sisters of Divine Compassion by professing her final vows in a ceremony on Saturday, September 13, she had already participated in founding one of the most successful basketball programs that teaches area kids the fundamentals of the sport, called Preston Hoops, in addition to being a school basketball coach, and director of development and admissions at Preston High School and a match teacher at St. Frances de Chantal.
“I wanted to be a teacher so much, but I knew in order to go to college I would need a basketball scholarship,” Warner said. “My parents advised me to get a sports scholarship, and I got an academic and basketball scholarship to Iona College and four others schools.”
Sr. Warner, a City Island native, said she was able to go to college and realize her dream of being a teacher as much because of her athletic prowess as her academic abilities. She credited early teachers, including nuns at her elementary school, St. Mary Star of the Sea on City Island, with putting the dream of being a teacher and ultimately a religious into her mind.
Warner said that she helped to start the Preston Hoops basketball camp to teach boys and girls the fundamentals skills of basketball, with the hope that the passion they felt for the sport would encourage them to pursue their dreams and hopefully get sports scholarships.
In her case, the basketball scholarship was crucial because the first six of her seven siblings did not attend college, and her parents told her that they could not afford to send her.
In 2001, after years of teaching at schools staffed with Sisters of the Devine Compassion, she decided to take her initial vows in the order, which led her to a ministry and GED education program for young mothers in the south Bronx. She had already spent many summers working at missions in the Appalachian Mountains and upstate New York.
Warner is currently director of the Preston Center of Compassion, a ministry which responds to the needs of the larger Bronx community and includes new and expanding programs and services for children and families, including an after school educational program, summer camps, senior citizen outreach, counseling services, and a Big Sister program with Preston High School students as mentors.
When Warner took her final vows, over 200 associates of the Divine Compassion, colleagues, friends and her large Bronx family, including her parents Vincent and Jean, her three sisters Dianne O’Sullivan, Kathy Carlsen, and Regina Murphy, and her four brothers Stephen, Tommy, John, and Vincent Warner attended at the congregation’s Chapel of Divine Compassion.