Sister Patricia “Patty” Startup was born and raised in Liberty. When the Class of 1965 chose as their yearbook theme, “Enter to learn, go forth to serve,” Sr. Patricia took those words to heart. Service became her lifelong vocation.
After high school, she worked at Marine Midland Bank, then as a secretary for the FBI in Washington D.C. In 1968, she entered the Community of Maryknoll Sisters, Catholic Sisters who devote their lives to service overseas. She earned a B.S. in Education and a M.A in Religious Studies from the Maryknoll Community’s Mary Rogers College in St. Louis, Mo.
From 1972 to 1990, she served on the foreign mission field in the Philippines beginning as a teacher in Quezon City and on the island of Mindanao. In her years of service in the Philippines, Sr. Patricia taught high school, adult education programs, developed literacy training for para-teachers, and taught college-level courses in theology. She became a member of the Urban Missionaries as an organizer and facilitator of the group’s documentation and research team for human rights violations. She served as the coordinator of the Ecumenical Movement for Justice and Peace providing relief and rehabilitation of internal refugees in the Philippines.
In 1990 she was assigned to Zimbabwe to work with refugees from the region’s civil wars, drought, and poverty. She helped recruit pastoral agents to live among and minister to these displace people. She prepared Mozambican children born in Zimbabwe to return to the homeland they had never seen. She visited Angola to determine their needs and how to strengthen their spiritual foundations. After turning the work over to native Zimbabwean Sisters, she turned her focus to street children and AIDS orphans founding a program to educate the children.
In 2001, she returned to the U.S. to care for her ailing father. She continued serving the Maryknoll Sisters community visiting schools and parishes to promote vocation work and mission awareness. Ever ready to continue her life of service, she was preparing for a new mission assignment to Brazil when she passed away unexpectedly in 2010.