Meet Our New Chaplain – Patty Lee, MSW, MPH
Just before Christmas, Our Lady of Peace (OLP) received the gift of Patty Lee, our new hospice chaplain who is settling in well with patients and staff.
Working with patients in the community and our hospice residence, Patty has embraced her role as chaplain. She describes herself as a “spiritual companion” who comforts patients and families at end of life. “I meet people wherever they are in life and their spiritual journey,” she explains. “I create a safe space to share thoughts and feelings. Once that space is opened, I listen and provide support.”
Patty is known as a warm and curious person who has a genuine love for people. People find it easy to talk to her, and she invites them in, without fear. Patty is the daughter of a Lutheran pastor, and believes that everyone is beloved by God, and that God’s love is abundantly and freely available to everyone. She recognizes that people come from different belief systems and religious practices, and some come into hospice with no faith at all. “My job is not to be a religion or faith monitor. It’s to listen nonjudgmentally, and help people find peace.”
After earning her undergraduate degree in English and master’s degrees in social work and public health, Patty worked in related positions for several years before seeking additional education to become a chaplain. “I felt called to this work,” she says. “I went to Luther Seminary, where I earned a Master of Arts in Theology degree, so that I could work in an area that I believe makes best use of my gifts and skills.”
After 20-years of working as a hospital chaplain in the Twin Cities, Patty came to OLP. “I heard about OLP for years, and I can’t believe I’m working in such a wonderful place.”
Patty feels it’s an honor to accompany people at a powerful and sacred time in their lives and be allowed to be one of the people who provides care and bear witness to their lives. “I love hearing life stories, and getting to know some patients who are in hospice longer, and I gain appreciation for the lives they have lived.”
One experience is particularly memorable for Patty, as she recalls a patient taking a while to accept her comfort. “I think sometimes people have a preconception of a chaplain, and if they don’t believe in God, or are struggling with their faith, they feel uncomfortable. So, I don’t push, but I invite them to reach back, if they decide they want to spend time with me.” And that’s exactly what this patient did. “He invited me back, and I kept coming back, and I became the chaplain they needed and the chaplain I am. Sometimes I feel like I’m holding a basket out in front of me, and the patients fill it with their stories. Then together, we go through the basket and find forgiveness and peace.”
Welcome to Our Lady of Peace, Patty. We’re happy you’re here.