Pat Sullivan was born in St. Paul in 1940 to John and Evelyn Sullivan. He was the youngest of five children, and both of his brothers also graduated from Cretin. Pat played both football and hockey, and graduated in 1958.
He then spent three years enlisted in the Army, the last two making skydiving exhibitions around the country as a member of the US Army Parachute Team.
In 1964, he opened a general contracting business. At first, he offered home additions and remodeling, then expanded into commercial general contracting. He ended his contracting career building casinos, hotels, and entertainment centers.
Pat married Gay Biagini in 1961 and they raised four children together: Jeff, John, Jenny, and Jane. Gay passed away in 2002, at which time Pat retired to McAllen, Texas. He met his second wife, JoAnn, there.
After retirement, Pat became involved in mission work in Nuevo Progreso, Mexico with the Sisters of St. Dorothy. He was surprised to find the extreme poverty just across the border, and devoted himself to making a difference. Pat recalled the advice of Brother Patrick from his Cretin days, who told him, “Christianity is really not that complicated with a lot of rules and regulations. There are really only two: love your God and love your neighbor.”
He helped to remodel the main church in town, Our Lady of Guadalupe, as well as constructing a community center, medical clinic, and shelter and expanding the local elementary school. The team constructed another Catholic church, Our Lady of Fatima, in the nearby town of Colonia, and a non-denominational church in Matamoras. Recently, Pat has dedicated himself to building bunk beds so families do not have to sleep on the ground, building about 900 bunk beds in the past five years.
When asked what made Pat exceptional, his high school friend Louie Bartscher wouldn’t miss an opportunity to tease his old pal a bit. “Pat wasn't the greatest athlete in the class of ‘58. Pat wasn't the smartest guy in the class of ‘58. Pat wasn't the most financially successful guy in the class of ‘58. Actually, none of us know why Pat is being honored ... I suppose being a good Christian has something to do with it,” he said.
Pat’s abiding Catholic faith and his exemplary work in Mexico uniquely qualifies him as the 2019 Saint DeLaSalle Awardee. Like St. John Baptist DeLaSalle, Pat relies on God’s providence to bring shelter and empowerment to those in need.