A Dominican Sister on the Catholic Faith and Science


Courtesy of the Joly Family

Sister Stephen Patrick on a home visit with her brother’s family.

Sister Stephen Patrick, OP is a Dominican Sister from Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She is currently in Missouri teaching high school science. As a child, she attended Catholic school from kindergarten through her senior year of high school. She then went to the University of South Alabama from 2002-2005 and studied Radiology. Sister Stephen Patrick explains why she only completed three years there. “When I was there I really just encountered the love of God in a profound way, and heard Him calling me to religious life…” She entered the Dominicans in 2005 and furthered her studies with them after joining their order. She was sent to Eastern Michigan University by her religious community to complete her Bachelor’s degree and a secondary teaching degree. Sister Stephen Patrick then attended the Catholic University of America and studied Cell Biology and Molecular Biology. She also earned her Masters and Doctorate in Cell and Microbial Biology from the Catholic University of America.

When asked why she enjoys the field of science, Sister Stephen Patrick gave insight into her scientific studies. She continued to say that she has taught Astronomy, Chemistry, and has a vast knowledge of Biology, but she enjoys many different sciences. She further explains where her love of science comes from. “In studying the natural world, whether it’s space, whether it’s life, whether it’s the chemical reactions around us that are making everything happen, or that make up everything, it’s showing us ways in which God created the world.” Her favorite science is Molecular Biology, and she explained it would be from learning about how so many little things make up our bodies, and how “…it really just pointed out how God is the Creator of all these things…”

“I do whatever the Lord asks,” Sister Stephen Patrick simply said, when asked how she uses her scientific knowledge and talents as a Sister. She explains that she is teaching high school science. “But also on the side I’ve been working on a Thomistic Evolution Project, which tries to help people understand the connection between our Catholic Faith and evolution…” (To learn more about this project, check out this link: About Thomistic Evolution). Sister Stephen Patrick has also traveled the country and presented at various conferences giving speeches on the Catholic Faith and Science.

Lastly, Sister Stephen Patrick explained that science and religion can coexist and what the faithful should understand about them coexisting. As she explained, “Everything is ordered; we can understand how things work in the natural world. That’s discovering the truth of the natural world. However, as I said earlier, those truths point to God as Creator.” She says that the Bible, Sacred Tradition, and the Popes to Jesus Christ, “tells us the truths of who we are, who God is, and why we exist.” By looking at these truths, we can tell God is the author, and it makes sense for Him to be the author of this world. The Faithful should “have an excitement about the truth of science, because they point us back to God and back to where everything comes from…Science can help us to see God as a loving Father…” She uses Genesis to help explain this by talking of God’s creations and how humans are made in the image and likeness of God. Sister Stephen Patrick finished by explaining she does not have to be afraid of the next scientific discovery, even if some may claim to deny the existence of God. These scientific discoveries can only help all people to understand God better.