HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Friends and loved ones gathered last week to say a temporary good-bye of sorts to a person you've never heard of... unless you've met her personally.
Dr. Timothy Saxe, a physician at St. Mary's Medical Center, says, "She's the closest person to a saint that I ever knew."
We're talking about Sister Pat Taube, longtime chaplain and wearer of many hats in service to Huntington's poor.
"She did a lot of work with the homeless, not just handouts, but to help them rehabilitate themselves," says Dr. Saxe.
Shawn Dolan, with Women For Recovery, says,"She had worked with me for So long, on self-esteem, and different issues.She's absolutely precious to me."
Work for which there are no cameras, and no fanfare, just the embodiment of the phrase 'To Love is To Serve'. She was also a driving force behind "The Healing Place", the 9th Street location where men struggling with addiction can come and get help-- and hope.
Rebecca Stanley, the director of development at The Healing Place, says, "She was one of the main supporters who worked really hard to get our doors open. She volunteers her time here, but would also go out and solicit donations."
"She was Huntington's Mother Theresa, and we're going to miss her," says Dr. Saxe.
So why on this day are we in a hospital, and why might this be Sister Pat's last day in West Virginia? A rare complication from the commonest of infections has resulted in the sudden loss of her hands and feet.
But Sister Pat considers it merely a change in focus, and an opportunity, "You just move from one to the other; and I just need to see, 'okay God, what's next. Where do we go. And let's do it'.
She will be relocating to Ohio to continue her recovery, but her thoughts are still always on the work here, and the recovery of others poor in spirit.
Sister Taube says, "That's the important thing: That others are running with the ball. I don't need hands and feet anymore, because others are going to be my hands and feet. God has used me, and that's what I want. That's what I want.
A seed planted, watered, and yielding a harvest a-hundred-fold: A continuing legacy of a WSAZ Hometown Hero.
--Extra Web-Only Content--
I thought it appropriate here to include the full transcripts of the various interviews conducted for this story. Many thanks to all involved, and of course to the tireless unheralded work of Sister Pat Taube-- and Best Wishes for her recovery and continued ministry.
Dr. Timothy Saxe - Physician, St. Mary's Hospital
The "Healing Place" when it opens up a women's section it will be named after her. She did a lot of work with the homeless. She would take food to the homeless all the time, anytime she could get leftovers. She was a big advocate for the homeless people. Not just handouts, but to help them rehabilitate themselves... to be somebody better in the community and to help them heal. She's the closest person to a saint that I ever knew.
She started out as a chaplain, and was sort of my spiritual advisor. She helped many people through grief and grieving. She was there when my mother died, and was there when my wife's mother died... One of those people that when you walked into the room you felt at peace. She had that kind of aura around here... maybe it was a halo.
She did a lot of counseling... accepting those and allowing them to teach. The number of people she's helped in the last 20 years is tremendous. She never stopped giving, as she says now, God is asking her to go to a different type of ministry, one that she doesn't need her hands and feet, and she's looking forward to it. She was a chaplain at several places. She was at HealthSouth for a while, she was here for many years. She did counseling out of my office a couple days per week, and other days she counseled wherever she could find people who needed counseling. It's just nice to know that there are people like Sister Pat that are praying for us and our community 24-7, and when she's in Sylvania she'll keep Huntington in the forefront of her prayers. We'll always be home for her. 38:07 We're gonna miss her. She's the closest thing to a saint I've ever known. She was Huntington's Mother Theresa, and we'll miss her.
Rebecca Stanley - Director of Development - The Healing Place
Sister Pat has been involved with The Healing Place since its inception. She was one of the main supporters who worked really hard to make sure we got our doors open. She volunteers her time, but she would also go out and solicit donations. She had a hand in every aspect of the program. We opened our doors in 2011, but it was a couple year process it took to get our doors open, and Sister Pat has been involved since the beginning. We are located at 2425 9th Avenue.
My experience with Sister Pat is that she's a real go-getter. When she gets behind a cause, she will do anything and everything to make sure it succeeds. She would bring food to the men [who came to the Healing Place], she would talk to them and tell them that everything was going to turn out okay. She's not only the one who goes out and does the hard work, she comes in and gives the support as well.
I met her at a meeting of volunteers for the Healing Place. She was there before I was. She was a member of "Friends of the Healing Place"... There was a group of people who had this idea of beginning this recovery program. I was hired on and I went to my first meeting, and she was there to welcome me, and she made it a really comfortable position to be in and was very supportive of me. We haven't seen her face, but she has been making sure that the things she started continues. She's making sure those donations are still there, she's not the one bringing them there now. She's now the woman behind the scenes instead of the woman doing it, but its amazing that even though she's going through all the things she's going through, she's making sure that the work she's started she's continuing. She's touched so many people in so many ways, it's unexplainable. She's one of the most amazing people I've ever met. Sister Pat is one of those people who really doesn't think about herself, she only thinks about others. With everything she's going through I came to visit her, and everything was about other people. Her focus is on everyone else. She hasn't even taken the time to feel sorry for herself. That's just not her. She's still concerned about how she's still going to help people in her new situation.
Shawn Dolan - Women For Recovery
I became a member of a group called Women For Recovery that she had started ... and now we're moving forward to open a center for addicts for women to come and have a safe place, educational classes, to give women hope again.
She had worked with me for so long... on self-esteem, on different issues, and I was just honored that she chose me to be a part of this women for recovery. She's absolutely precious to me. I'm going to miss her when she leaves. Us and the other women are moving forward with "Her Place". Hope, Education, and Recovery. Trying to find a place to open for a drop-in center and then move forward with a long-term healing center for women.
I've never met anybody that has the spiritual light that she has. The glow that she carries. She had an operation and she still has an energy full of hope and love and support.
And here are the additional words of Sister Pat Taube herself as we talked at her hospital beside before leaving for Ohio:
Thank you so much ... I'm overwhelmed... I'm overwhelmed... I thank all of you. I'm this because all of you. They have been there and I have been able to minister. If they weren't here, I wouldn't have been able to do what I did. West Virginia has been so wonderful... I'm taking West Virginia with me.
I am so happy. Being in West Virginia for 25-years. When I came down to West Virginia, don't you feel blocked in by those hills? I said, "no... I feel hugged, every day that I open my eyes". I have always felt at home. I have always felt that this is the place where I belong. Even though I am going away, I feel that West Virginia will always be a part of me. (46:10) One-Third of my life that I have spent here, and one-third of my life that so much has been given to me, by the people here, by their spirit. And, there's no place else that I've been, and I've been many many places, where the people are so warm, where no one is a stranger.
So many people that love me, and so many people to love. I just can't say enough about all the opportunities I've had here to do my ministry. And like I said, when you're in ministry, it's really up to the people. Because if the people aren't there, then you can't do the ministry. Every day is where some people wake up and say "Oh my gosh I gotta go to work (negative)", I say, "Oh good, I have to go to the office", because going there, with the staff and everything has been so wonderful.
But not only that, it has allowed me to minister to the poorest of the poor. And I don't necessarily mean monetarily. The poorest of the poor within. There is so much healing that needs to take place amongst us, and I just have wanted to bring that to as many people as I could. That inner healing. That no matter what is going on on the outside, we have that inner healing that can take place on the inside. Because we are the beloved of God as my little book tells me... And that message, is that message I want to bring to the people.
People say, you know, "I can't do this. This is too much"... I say "Yes you can. You can do this, because you are the beloved of God." (regarding her injuries) I don't know what this is all about... When this happened, I thought, "what is this... What happened here, you know?" But, it did. It did. And so know you just move from one to the other. And I just need to see, okay God, what's next? Where do we go, and let's do it! Let's do it. Whatever it is, we're going to do it. And, West Virginia's always going to be a part of it.
I wouldn't know that I could do those things. I could think other people could, but I never would have imagined that I could. And yet here I am, and God has used me, and that's what I want. That's what I want. That's the important thing. That others are running with the ball. I've passed it to 'em, it's up to them.
You're going to be my hands and feet. I don't need hands and feet anymore, because others are going to be my hands and feet. I'm so grateful, I'm so grateful. So when I look at you I might be looking at you funny, because I'm seeing hands (laughter).