Sr. Kendra was among the multitude of nuns who were recognized for their anniversaries at a celebratory mass at the Sisters of Notre Dame in Chardon on Sunday, June 23. She was recognized as a Golden Jubilarian at the mass and dinner.
Many of her family members and friends were present to share in the special events of this 50-year celebration.
Looking back over her life of ministry, Sister Kendra shares that her “call” came when she was young. Race riots were happening in Cleveland, and African Americans had just begun to be accepted by her Community.
Sr. Kendra entered Notre Dame Academy on Ansel Road in 1962, the year the nuns received news from Rome that African American women would be accepted. Sr. Kendra recalls that her family was not particularly enthused about her selection of this vocation, but she knew it was right for her.
Most in the Sisters of Notre Dame community serve by teaching. But after many years in this field, Sr. Kendra started working in the Pastoral Care Department of St. John Medical Center. She starts most mornings with a prayer and hymn over the hospital public address system, and her voice is a constant and continuing comfort to all at the hospital.
She consistently takes to the forefront at many hospital functions with the reliable presence of her song, reminding staff and patients time and again that “This is Holy Ground….”
“Besides being our ‘Singing Angel,” she generously shares her time, love and spirit with patients and anyone in need,” says Joyce Holod of the UH St. John Auxiliary. “She lives up to her statement that ‘Each and every one of us is called to share the reality of God’s love and care of all of us.’”
Sr. Kendra was born as “Patricia Ann” to Edith & Charles Bottoms in Louisville, Kentucky, moving to Cleveland at age 5. She is the oldest of the Bottoms siblings, which include Charlotte (Detroit), Nona (Ontario, CA) and Charles (deceased). Educated as a Biology major at Notre Dame College, she obtained a Master’s Degree in Science in Biology at Kent State University.
Sr. Kendra is one of the first black women to enter Notre Dame Academy. She has served as a Biology teacher in a boarding school in Middleburg, Virginia and at Regina High School. Today , her role is Chaplain and Director of Pastoral Care at University Hospitals St. John Medical Center.
“I will never forget the first interaction with Sister Kendra,” says UH St. John President and CEO Robert David. “The UH Media Department sent an internal memo about me leaving my role at the UH Regional Hospitals, and joining UH St. John Medical Center as President. She wrote me the nicest email. She said she was praying for the position in general and now she would pray for me by name.” That email meant the world to me.”
“Sister Kendra is a great coworker and amazingly benevolent boss,” says Father Damian Ezeani of the UH St. John Pastoral team. “She is both caring and supportive. She compassionately journeys with me in turbulent times. Her humility, humor and piety are evident. I am glad that she answered this call to the Religious life. She loves and cares for our patients, their families and members of SJMC’s staff. She works with her whole heart. Assuredly, God will continue to use her as an instrument of kindness and comfort to many people.”
“Sr. Kendra begins our day at St. John’s singing praises to God over the paging system. As we are commanded to spread His Word to all people, Sr. Kendra leads reminding us of this by her daily walk with Him. She is a remarkable and selfless person, and I am thankful for her and her love for Jesus. A blessed Golden Jubilee, Sr. Kendra,” comments Penny Evans, Manager of Volunteer Services.
(Ed. Note: Thank you to Joyce Holod for assembling this important recognition of Sr. Kendra).