Patricia Walsh Chadwick

Patricia Walsh Chadwick

Patricia’s unorthodox upbringing – in an excommunicated Catholic commune – is the subject of her first book, a memoir entitled, LITTLE SISTER. From her infancy in 1948 until the age of 17, she, and the nearly 100 members of the community, including her parents and four siblings, lived a life shielded from the outside world – without television, radio, newspapers or any exposure to the events of the day. At the age of 17, she was kicked out and faced the world without family, money, advice or the opportunity to attend college.

From that inauspicious beginning, Patricia began the long trek of her career, starting as a receptionist in the Boston office of Ladenburg, Thalmann, a brokerage and investment banking firm. By dint of sheer determination, she worked her way up the long corporate ladder. For nine years, she attended college in the evening, graduating Summa Cum Laude from Boston University’s Metropolitan College, with a degree in Economics.

Moving to New York in 1975, she capitalized on the opportunities in the financial world, eventually becoming a Global Partner at Invesco. Along the way, she developed a passion for the opera, theater and global travel. In her fifties, Patricia embarked on a second career, as an expert witness and a corporate board director, allowing her the flexibility to raise her twin children.

Today, in addition to her board work, Patricia dedicates much of her time to pro bono activities. She sits on the advisory board of Boston University’s Metropolitan College, and chairs the advisory board of Elon.

Little Sister: A Memoir

Patricia Walsh Chadwick

Monday, October 21

7:00 - 8:00 pm

Concord Free Public Library

129 Main Street

Concord, MA

Imagine an eighteen-year-old American girl who has never read a newspaper, watched television, or made a phone call. An eighteen-year-old-girl who has never danced—and this in the 1960s.

It is in Cambridge, Massachusetts where Leonard Feeney, a controversial (soon to be excommunicated) Catholic priest, founded a religious community called the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The Center's members—many of them educated at Harvard and Radcliffe—surrender all earthly possessions and aspects of their life, including their children, to him. Patricia Chadwick was one of those children, and Little Sister is her account of growing up in the Feeney sect.

Separated from her parents and forbidden to speak to them, Patricia bristles against the community’s draconian rules, yearning for another life. When, at seventeen, she is banished from the Center, her home, she faces the world alone, without skills, family, or money but empowered with faith and a fierce determination to succeed on her own, which she does, rising eventually to the upper echelons of the world of finance and investing. 

A tale of resilience and grace, Little Sister chronicles, in riveting prose, a surreal childhood and does so without rancor or self-pity.