Brother Patrick Sopher, CSC, 74, passed away February 3, 2018 at Columba Hall, Notre Dame, IN, at the age of 74. A member of the Congregation of Holy Cross, Brother Patrick served with distinction in leadership roles at every level in Holy Cross. Beginning in 1965, he taught one year at Notre Dame High School, Sherman Oaks, CA, then ten years at St. Francis High School, Mountain View, CA, establishing himself as an excellent teacher, an intrepid but fair Dean of Students, a dedicated assistant principal, and a thoughtful Holy Cross educator. He later returned to St. Francis High School for a year as President.
In 1976, Brother Romard Barthel, Provincial Superior of the South –West Province, asked Brother Patrick to serve as Assistant Provincial and to organize a process of strategic planning for the province. Thus Brother Patrick’s gifts for data gathering, analysis, and forward thinking were unleashed to the continuing benefit of the Congregation and its constituencies.
In 1979, Brother Patrick was elected Provincial Superior of the South- West Province of the Brothers of Holy Cross. He played key roles in helping to develop St. Edward’s University and in supporting Brother Stephen Walsh and Dr. Patricia Hayes during their times as President of the University. He also supported the work of renewing Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, CA, as it became coeducational. More than anything, his efforts to develop strong boards of directors at the secondary schools associated with the province have had lasting impact. He was farsighted also in planning for the future financial needs of the province. He and Brother James Kell worked together tirelessly to promote renewal of religious life among the province members. He also served on the three-man team which wrote the Constitutions of the Congregation of Holy Cross at the General Chapter of 1986.
In 1992, Brother Patrick was elected Vicar General of the Congregation of Holy Cross and moved to Rome, Italy. Father Claude Grou, Superior General, asked Brother Patrick to establish a systemic process to document better the membership and resources of the various provinces and districts in the Congregation. During this time, Brother Patrick also organized the first planning efforts of the world-wide Congregation and began several efforts at organizing an endowment for the Congregation. His travels to the various areas of the international Congregation aroused in him deep compassion, insight and interest as he moved these important processes forward.
Returning to the classroom in 1999, Brother Patrick taught social studies and served as Dean of Men at Holy Cross School in New Orleans, LA. In 2002, he moved to St. Joseph Hall in Austin, TX where he began studies for a master’s degree in business administration at St. Edward’s University. Then from 2004 through 2010 he served as a teacher and administrator at newly-launched San Juan Diego High School in Austin, TX in addition to his role as Superior of the local community of Holy Cross Brothers at St Joseph Hall.
In 2010, Father Richard Warner, newly-elected Superior General, tapped Brother Patrick to join him in Rome to again direct planning efforts for Holy Cross at the international level. He accepted and served in this role for six years. After the General Chapter of 2016, Brother Patrick moved to Notre Dame, IN where he lived at Columba Hall and worked in guidance and counseling with students at Holy Cross College before retiring in 2017.
Born in Spokane, WA, Brother first came into contact with the Brothers of Holy Cross as a student at St. Anthony High School, Long Beach, CA. In 1962, he was received into the Congregation at St. Joseph Novitiate in Rolling Prairie, IN, and made his first profession of vows there on August 16, 1963. His life-long contributions to the Congregation of Holy Cross, in service, education, planning administration and thoughtful, fraternal living are immeasurable.
Services for Br. Patrick will be held at:
St. Joseph Chapel of Holy Cross College, South Bend, IN
Viewing will be held from 9:30 am to 11:00 am on February 7, 2018
Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated 11:00 am on February 7, 2018.