Sr. M. Nazarene entered the Congregation at the age of 17 on September 9, 1937 in the Bronx, USA. In 1938 she went to Rome for her novitiate, pronouncing her Religious Profession on March 2, 1939, and returning to New York shortly afterwards.
Sr. Nazarene was among the first sisters to receive higher education in the US, completing her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education at Fordham University in New York. During that time (1939 – 1945) she also worked in the bindery and served as translator and teacher of the young women in formation.
From 1949 - 1956 she was in Derby, N.Y. again as translator, teacher, working in the bindery and in order entry. In 1956 she was transferred to Boston where she remained until 1994. In these years she served as translator, teacher of the young women in formation, worked in the bindery, oversaw the duplication of audio visuals, and worked as receptionist.
In 1998 sister was transferred to work in the book center of Edison, New Jersey, returning to Boston in 2001 where she assisted in various clerical work.
Sr. M. Nazarene prided herself on being a “jack-of-all-trades”, always willing to face a new challenge and get the job done. In response to the local superior’s plea for help in carrying out errands in the Boston community, Sr. M. Nazarene applied for, and received, a driver’s license at the age of 69!
She was very devoted to Jesus Crucified and could well make her own the words of St. Paul: “I was determined to know nothing but Christ and Christ Crucified”. The multiple pictures and cards of the suffering Jesus and the Crucifix found in Sr. M. Nazarene’s books and prayer book attest to this and make her passage on the feast of the Triumph of the Cross even more meaningful.
In keeping with her love for the crucified, was her devotion to the Will of God. About 3 weeks before her death, Sr. M. Nazarene confided to the provincial superior, “I am not afraid to die. You know why? Because I have always done the will of God”. In 1986 she wrote to Sr. M. Domenica, then provincial superior, “Regardless of the fact that you said there is an age limit (Sr. M. Nazarene was 65 at the time), I wish to let you know that I am available and willing to volunteer for the missions. I leave the decision up to you and will accept the answer as the Holy Will of God. In any event, feel free to use me as you wish”. This same availability was repeated in 1989: “Just a few words to let you know that I’m available for Toronto… Feel free to use me wherever you wish”. And 10 years later, in 1999, at the age of 78 she wrote, “Thank you for giving me the opportunity of being of service to our beloved Congregation. As long as my health permits, I will always be available to do God’s will as manifested by my superiors”.
In 2005 her health no longer permitted the activities she was used to…; she began to have difficulty breathing and a decline in energy was noticed. Tests showed that her kidneys were no longer functioning well. This led to 6 years of dialysis, 3 times a week, which Sr. M. Nazarene embraced faithfully.
About two weeks ago, it became clear that the dialysis was no longer effective in removing fluids from her body, and both doctors and nurses recommended terminating the treatment. When Sr. M. Leonora approached Sr. M. Nazarene to speak with her about the doctors’ recommendation, but before she could say anything, sister looked her straight in the eye and asked, “When is the Lord going to take me?” Sister answered, “I think you have to ask him that.”, to which Sr. M. Nazarene retorted, “that’s why I’m asking you”. No amount of cultural evolution changed sister’s belief that God manifested His will through the superior. After a brief and serene conversation, Sr. M. Nazarene decided to stop the dialysis. From then on she prepared herself for the great encounter with her glorified Spouse.
In these final days, Sr. M. Nazarene remained alert to the end — welcoming the Sisters who came to visit her, grateful for every attention and sparing no effort to participate in the communitarian Eucharist celebration, expressing aloud her favorite intention during the prayers of the faithful, “for an increase in priestly and religious vocations”. And in response to this prayer, the Divine Master ordained that this very evening, in the community of Boston, 2 young women will be entering the novitiate.
Sr. M. Nazarene was ready to meet the Bridegroom. In the last hours of her life she kept repeating, “Hurry up! Hurry up!” and “Please…! Please…!” At one point, one of the sisters bent down and teasingly whispered into her ear, “Perhaps you are being too polite…” – meaning to say, “you were never that polite with me”. Sr. M. Nazarene caught the implication, and with a twinkle in her eye, came back with, “but He’s my Sweetheart”.
And we feel certain, that while we pray for her, she too prays for us, interceding for the needs of the Province and the Congregation, safe in the arms of her Beloved.