Patti (Platt) Wiens ‘55

Nicole Sheldon

Patti grew up with her seven brothers and sisters in Minneapolis. Her father served as a mechanic during World War II, leaving her mother to care for 8 children on her own.  Life was difficult, and hunger was often the norm. One day, her mom got on a streetcar to buy groceries, and she never came home.  Patti and her siblings then began moving from place to place, living in orphanages and foster homes.  

God Gave Patti A Friend Named Joyce

“When I went to my third foster home, God gave me a friend named Joyce. I had never had a friend.” Her new friend Joyce loved Jesus. “I had not heard much about Jesus, except through my former neighbor Mrs. Lane.” She and Joyce would walk together to Ramsey Junior High School, and on each walk she learned more about Jesus. One day Joyce told her, “Patti, next year I’m going to go to Minnehaha Academy. The reason that I want to go there is because we don’t only learn good things about studying, but we also learn about Jesus.” Patti responded, “Can I go with you?”  Patti got permission from her foster mom to go on the streetcar with Joyce to MA, where they met with a man worked in the finance department.

Patti Asks If She Can Come To MA For Free

Patti said, “Good morning, I’m Patti Platt and I want to come to your school.” He said, “We’re delighted that you want to come, but did you know that you have to pay to come to this school?” He went on to say, “I’m sorry, but MA is a private school, and your money pays for salaries and all kinds of things. It’s called tuition.”  Patti was just 15 years old and living with a foster family.  She knew that she could not work yet, but she was willing to work to earn money.  She said to him, “Do you suppose that I can come free until I am old enough to work?” He said, “Well, I’m not asked that every day and I don’t know how to answer you. Come back next week and maybe by then, the Lord will have showed me whether you can come here--free--or not.” They thanked him and got back on the streetcar. Patti said to Joyce, “Well, at least he didn’t say ‘no’.” 

The Slowest Week In The World

“That week of waiting was the slowest week in the world, but we arrived back in his office and he said, ‘Patti--I can’t believe it, but we found someone to cover your first year of tuition, so yes, you can come as a student!’ I cannot tell you how excited I was!” Once enrolled, Patti learned about Jesus every day at school, served on a Gospel team, and shared her testimony in chapel. She sang at community performances with the Singers. She watched God develop a hunger and a longing for Jesus in a deep way in her life. 

Christian Education Has Life Long Impact

In fact, Minnehaha, and the Christian education she received, had such a tremendous impact on her that she devoted much of her life to working in, and investing in, providing that same opportunity to other students. She and her husband founded New Life Church and then New Life Academy in Woodbury, where she was an educator for 25 years.  She has a list in her prayer journal of all of the students that they have sent out  from New Life that are serving Jesus here, near and far.  She is now retired and in a new chapter of life as a widow.  “My life in this phase is all about ministry.” 

Patti hopes alumni really understand the privilege they had of being at a school like MA, a Christian school where the Bible is the basis of everything. “Today, especially, we need to get the Word of God into our kids’ and grandkids’ lives in every way--but especially in education.  We had such a privilege to be at MA, and we can continue to invest in student’s lives by giving financial gifts to our school.”

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