It is with profound sadness that we share the news that venerable member of the St. Joseph’s family, Brother Paschal Steen, passed away last Saturday at 2:30pm.
Patsy, as he was fondly referred to, arrived at St. Joseph’s near the time of our founding in 1971. He was the last of the Tertiary Brothers, members of the Franciscan Third Order who make profession to live out the Gospel life and commit themselves to that living according to the example of St. Francis, at St. Joseph’s.
Described with admiration by many at St. Joseph’s as gentle, compassionate, kind, and essential to daily operations during a career that spanned over four decades.
“Paschal was the Maintenance Department before there was a Maintenance Department,” says Dietary Director, Kelly Morgan. “He knew where every pipe and every valve in the place was.”
Facilities Director, Donnie Ecret, who came to St. Joseph’s as a young man of eighteen shares. “Paschal was my mentor, he taught me everything there was to know about the physical plant, and he taught me the importance of caring for everyone. And, he had quite a sweet tooth,” Donnie says remembering how Paschal could often be seen carrying a large tub of ice cream with him during his tours around campus.
Paschal was also a deeply religious man who spent much of his free time in St. Joseph’s chapel. Former Family Program Director, Bernadette Burns recalls Sister Alice O’Hare ‘s comment upon seeing Patsy at prayer in the Chapel, “He is the powerhouse of St. Joseph’s,” she exclaimed. “He keeps us all going!”
And his love for the North Country was legendary. As Kelly remembers, “He used to swim around the entire shore of Kiwassa Lake.” And, during St. Joseph’s early years when the Friars operated a rope-tow ski operation for their own use at the main Inpatient campus, “Paschal would ski almost every day.”
His love for the Adirondacks was also abundant. As Donnie tells, “In all of his time here, he only left the Village once, and that was to see his sister.”
In honor of Paschal’s long and caring commitment to St. Joseph’s, the Paschal Family Building was dedicated in his name in October of 1987 as an integral component of our Inpatient treatment program, and as a cherished place of hope and healing.
“Patsy didn’t just live here,” Kelly says, “He cared about everything here. He was a treasure.”
Father Paul Kelly will lead a celebration of Paschal’s life at Elderwood of Uihlein at Lake Placid, the former Uihlein Mercy Center, on Tuesday, December 3 at 12:00 pm.