Springfield Dominican Sister Jean Patrick Ehrhardt, OP, got her first St. Patrick’s Day button at age 12 and has been building her collection ever since. She says she loves St. Patrick’s Day for two reasons: she inherited her aunt’s enthusiasm for the holiday, and her birthday is the very next day, March 18. She celebrated her 78th birthday this year.
Sister Jean Patrick ministered primarily in elementary education as a teacher and principal in Catholic schools in Illinois, Minnesota and California. She currently ministers in transportation for the sisters at Sacred Heart Convent in Springfield. She began dressing up more than 20 years ago, when she was an elementary school principal in East Moline, Illinois, and she and her fourth grade class were asked to be in the St. Patrick’s Day parade. She has been in several parades since then (including parades in St. Louis, Missouri; Duluth, Minnesota; and San Diego, California).