Patricia Thro, RSCJ

Birth: March 14, 1938
Profession: Feb. 5, 1966
Death: March 9, 2015

Religious of the Sacred Heart Patricia Thro died Monday, March 9, 2015, at Oakwood, the Society of the Sacred Heart’s elder care center in Atherton, California. A natural teacher, she touched countless lives through her work in the classroom, especially at Maryville University in St. Louis. Since suffering a serious brain injury fifteen years ago, she has touched countless more by her witness as a woman of contemplation, perseverance and prayer. Her life will be celebrated with a funeral Mass on Saturday, March 14 at 10:00 am in the Oakwood chapel, 140 Valparaiso Avenue, Atherton. Burial will be in the Society of the Sacred Heart cemetery at Oakwood.

Mary Patricia Thro was born in St. Charles, Missouri on March 14, 1938, to Raymond Joseph and Mary Vincentia Hanlon Griesenauer Thro. She had one brother, Raymond John (Jack) Thro, who lives in Japan. She is also survived by her sister-in-law, Midori, niece, Anna Thro Grauerholz of Redondo Beach, California, nephews Michael Thro of Germany and Ray Thro of San Francisco and her sisters in the Society of the Sacred Heart.

Pat entered the Society of the Sacred Heart at Kenwood in 1957, just two years after graduating from the Academy of the Sacred Heart in St. Charles. Soon after, she enrolled at Maryville College in St. Louis, which was then owned by the Society. She made her first vows in the Society in 1960 and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Education and Mathematics from Maryville College in 1961. She made her final profession in the Society 1966 in Rome. She later earned her Master’s in Science in Physics from Fordham University in 1967, and a Ph.D. in Education with a minor in Physics from Washington University, St. Louis, in 1976.

Sister Thro first began teaching in 1961 at Villa Duchesne in St. Louis, where she served as elementary and secondary mathematics teacher and religion teacher. After completing her master’s degree, she served as physics instructor and residence hall director at Maryville College, 1967-69.

In 1969, she moved to New Orleans, where she was superior and a physics teacher at the Academy of the Sacred Heart, New Orleans (the Rosary). She returned to St. Louis in 1971, to serve on the St. Louis Province leadership team, as superior at Villa Duchesne, and as Physics Professor and Chair of the Mathematics and Natural Sciences Division at Maryville College.

Sister Thro would continue teaching math and science, both physics and astronomy, at Maryville College, later Maryville University, until her accident in July 1999. Her students would tell you that they always knew that Sister Thro cared about them, and every experience was an opportunity for learning; she received Maryville’s “Distinguished Teacher Award” in 1983. She also served the college as acting vice president for academic affairs, director of the Honors Program, dean of the former College of Arts and Sciences and vice president for academic and student affairs. In 2002, the board of trustees of Maryville conferred on Sister Thro the title Professor Emeritus.

Within the Society, Sister Thro was recognized as both spiritually and intellectually gifted. She was a kind person, a good listener with sound judgment, the kind of person one could depend on. A member of the province who was a student of Sister Thro’s said of her influence, “In Pat I saw a woman who truly loved God and whose life was lived out of that relationship with God. It was the ‘life lived and the things loved’ that impressed me deeply as a college student and which encouraged me to follow a similar path.”

Sister Thro served on the board of the Academy of the Sacred Heart in St. Charles for many years. She participated in National Science Foundation workshops from 1978 to 1988, was chair of the Science Education section of the Missouri Academy of Science, 1986-88, and served as Fulbright lecturer in physics for two semesters in the Philippines. She was a woman who loved God and all of God’s creation, especially the cosmos.

Maryville University is hosting a remembrance for Sister Pat Thro on Tuesday, May 12, at 4 p.m. in Huttig Chapel on Maryville’s campus. There will be a reception immediately afterward in the President’s Conference Center.


Submitted by R. John "Jack" Thro on

We can indeed be grateful to Pat for sharing her life and love with all of us.

As her only sibling, may I make a small correction in the "Memoriam" notice at

Her correct name was not Patricia Mary Thro, but Mary Patricia Thro. For some reason, our parents took to calling us by nicknames based on our middle names, not our first names.

Lord rest her!

Jack Thro
Saitama, Japan

Submitted by Jeffrey Murphy on

Sr. Thro taught my brother and me astronomy at Maryville College back in the 1980s. We both loved her as a teacher. I sent four kids through Academy of the Sacred Heart so I was thrilled when I ran into her there just a few years ago. Of course I had to tell her how much we loved her class "back in the day!" She was an excellent teacher and a truly caring person. May she rest in peace!

Submitted by Margo Pezolt Ru... on

I "roomed" with Mary Pat at Maryville College in 1955-56 and 1956-57. Mary Pat and three others, including Tita Lapyre, (now Sr. Lapyre in CA). shared one large one and I had a tiny single room attached to theirs. The five of us did many things together. Her departure for Kenwood seemed a natural move for Mary Pat whose countenance was that of a solid rock of integrity, true friend and devoted "child of the Sacred Heart." Her mathmaticaly gifted mind was a shinning star. Her accident magnified the width and depth of the mind that was, and confirmed the "rock" foundation that made Mary Pat, Mary Pat! How great to have known her..
May she rest in the arms of our Lord forever.

Submitted by Barbara Esstman on

<p>Mary Pat was a IV Academic when I was a Second Primary at ASH. &nbsp;Like all little kids, I looked up to the "big" girls, and I especially adored her. &nbsp;Our parents were good friends, and her mother Vinnie was my sponser when I was confirmed; consequently, I always felt as we do in St. Charles that that made her an honorary relative. &nbsp;She was consistently good-natured and radiated an aura of kindness and care. &nbsp;I love seeing her photo here as her smile and inner joy remained constant over the 60 years that have passed. &nbsp;The world will miss her. &nbsp;I liked knowing she was on this earth.</p>

Submitted by Cathy O'Conor on

<p>Pat was my "angel" for the first six months of my time in the Noviceship. I found her to be understanding and at the same time</p>
<p>firm about the Rule and its implications. She was truly a big sister to me.&nbsp; I saw her several times after I left the Society both before and</p>
<p>after her accident and I would describe her as a woman of&nbsp; prayer who truly loved people in the Heart of Jesus.</p>