Early in the morning of December 4, 2014, our Brazilian Sister Luzia Aparecida Daniel, a lifelong ambassador of Gospel joy, completed her amazing eighty year journey home to God. How appropriate was the timing of her departing since throughout her life, and especially in her final days, she embodied the Advent prayer: “My heart seeks your face, O God; come and do not delay.”
On January 1, 1934, Luzia Aparecida Daniel was born in the town of Santa Cruz das Palmeiras, in the state of São Paulo, Brazil. She was the only child of her loving parents, Avelino Daniel and Marian de Lima, immigrants from Southern Italy who had arrived in Brazil the previous year. By the time she was four years old, Luzia had lost both of her parents to death. In early childhood, she also lost her eye sight due to a medical error. Orphaned and blind, Luzia became a resident at the Instituto de Cegos Padre Chico (now known as the Colégio Vincentino Padre Chico) in the capital city of São Paulo which was staffed by the French Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul. Much beloved by the sisters who cared for her as well as the teachers who served as her instructors, Luzia thrived despite the challenges and difficulties posed by the circumstances of her early life. Blessed with an unwavering confidence in God and an amazing resiliency, Luzia made the most of her other four senses, as she devoted herself to discovering and making meaning of the world around her. Gifted with a creative imagination, Luzia’s intuitions and perceptions provided her with a heightened sensitivity to everyone and everything that she encountered. Finding strength, hope and joy in in the enduring memory of her Calabrese parents to whom she attributed her natural talent for music and poetry, Luzia always had a song in her heart and a poem for every occasion.
Sister Mary Olivieri began life on April 17, 1928, in Mansfield, Ohio, the first born of four children: Nick and Lucy, now deceased, and Rose, now Sister Rose, RSM, who resides in Fremont, Ohio, at St. Bernadine Retirement Home. Sister Mary’s parents, Joseph and Dominica, were both born in Italy and spoke only Italian in the family home. Mary’s early family life was enriched by Italian customs and culture as well as a deep faith shared by her parents. Mary and Rose fondly recalled their yearly trips to Carey, Ohio, for the Feast of the Assumption of Mary where they spent two days at the Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation. Maybe this parental devotion was the motive in naming their first born Mary.
Mary’s love for cooking was passed on by her mother who also taught her daughter the art of gardening. Her cooking skills have been appreciated by many of the Sisters with whom she lived. The faith life fostered in her family and her years at St. Peter’s School in Mansfield may have been the seeds of her call to become a Sister of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate. Arriving in Joliet in 1947 as a postulant, Mary’s dream was short-lived. Her mother’s illness made it necessary for her to return home to help with her younger siblings. After her mother’s death in August, 1948, she began working and even bought herself a car. Those who knew her well also knew about her love for driving! They would also know about her determination and decisiveness to do what she knew had to be done!
On the morning of October 21, 2013, our Sister Patricia David passed quietly from this life into eternal life. Dying as she had lived, her peaceful movement into the arms of God constituted the final steps of the grace-filled dance that was her life.
Born in Toledo, Ohio, on May 2, 1937, Patricia was one of two children born to Anna (Liszak) and Frank David. She was a devoted daughter and a loving sister to her younger brother Frank. From childhood on, she was a joyful and gentle presence in the lives of everyone who knew her – relatives, neighbors and friends. Educated by the Joliet Franciscan Sisters at St. Francis de Sales Grade School in Toledo, young Patricia’s Hungarian heritage and ethnic identity were nurtured at St. Stephen Church, where later in life she would return to minister.
“We cannot see the future or what it has in store for us, but we are open to what God has planned for us … a continuation of the mystery of life. Truly, life is a mystery to be lived!” Under the banner of these words, our Sister Mary Ann Creely endeavored throughout her life to help the People of God whom she served as a teacher, principal, counselor, pastoral minister, friend and sister, to remain confident in the providence of God and to find meaning in the challenges that life put before them. Though these words from 1997 may not have been intended originally as a parting gift to those she whom she would leave behind as she made her way home to God at the break of dawn on the Feast of St. Patrick in 2010, they take on new meaning in the light of her unexpected death and the legacy of her life.
Born on the northwest side of Chicago on January 6, 1933, the Feast of the Epiphany, Mary Ann Creely was the fifth of eight daughters born to Thomas and Rose (Franc) Creely. Baptized at St. Pascal Church, she attended the parish school where she came under the influence and inspiration of the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate. At the age of thirteen, Mary Ann became an aspirant with the Joliet Franciscans and studied at St. Francis Academy. On September 6, 1948, she entered the postulancy and on August 12, 1949, she became a novice, receiving the name Sister Mary Ronald. She made her First Profession on August 12, 1951, and three years later, on August 13, 1954, she made her Perpetual Profession. Cultivating long and lasting friendships among her Joliet Franciscan sisters as well as the Rochester Franciscan sisters and the Franciscan Sisters of Penance and Christian Charity (Stella Niagra) with whom she also lived, Sister Mary Ann invested herself in creating the conditions for living the evangelical life in the context of life‐giving communities of faith, hope and love.