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Sister Patricia Ralph

Maker interview details

Profile image of Sister Patricia Ralph
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  • May 17, 2004


  • Category: ReligionMakers
  • Occupation(s): Elementary School Principal


  • Born: August 15, 1960
  • Birth Location: Jersey City, New Jersey


  • Favorite Color: Periwinkle
  • Favorite Food: Hamburgers
  • Favorite Time of Year: Fall
  • Favorite Vacation Spot: Hawaii

Favorite Quote

"Little rugrats."
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Sister Patricia Anne Ralph was born on August 15, 1960, in Jersey City, New Jersey. Ralph attended elementary and junior high school at Blessed Sacrament Catholic School in Newark, New Jersey. While attending junior high school, in the eighth grade she decided she would dedicate her life to God and become a nun. In 1979, she earned her high school diploma from Benedictine Academy, a private Catholic school in Elizabeth, New Jersey. While in high school she was a cheerleader, baton twirler and a member of the dance team.

In 1985, Ralph graduated from Jersey City State College where she earned her degree in teaching. This same year she entered the Community of St. Joseph to begin her journey as a nun. There, Ralph became known as “Sister Patty” to her friends and the hundreds of students she’s taught. Currently, out of 1200 nuns, she is the only African American nun in the St. Joesph community.

In 1988, Ralph received and her first teaching assignment at St. Martin De Porres Catholic School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she taught first grade. Two years later, she was missioned to Holy Family Catholic School in Hilcrest Heights, Maryland where she was a first and second grade teacher. The following year, Ralph accepted a teaching position at Holy Name Catholic, School in Washington, D.C. She continued to teach at Holy Name for the next five years until she was named principal, a position she continues to hold today.

In 1994, she made her final vows in Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania, thus completing her journey to become a nun. Surprisingly, her twin sister, Lynne Marie, decided to follow in Ralph’s footsteps and also became a nun although entering a different community, the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament.

Ralph currently resides in Washington, D.C. Her twin sister is also a teaching nun at an elementary school in Memphis, Tennessee.

Previews from the Digital Archive


Watch the full interview in the Digital Archive