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Pat Stacker's Memory Lives on: Associates Unite to Support the Nicaragua Project

by Kai Marks, ANDRemembering Patricia Stacker, Notre Dame AssociateI didn’t get to know Pat as well or as long as other Associates did. I wish I had. To me, her very presence always exuded warmth and determination.

Every story I have ever heard and every photograph I have ever seen looks like this one, wherein she is shown packing boxes of food and other essential items for the Sisters in Zimbabwe: Pat saw a need, and she was determined to fill it—one box and one project at a time.

And I’m told that Pat didn’t just do these things on her own. She had something of a Pied Piper affect on people and was able to inspire others to join in whatever project had captured her indomitable spirit. Associates speak fondly of the time when they, along with Pat and members of her family, sent packages to Zimbabwe and what a strong sense of unity they felt.

For me, Pat’s legacy is so alive in the stories that people tell me that it’s as if she’s still in the room with us. I can well appreciate why Sisters and Associates would like to recapture the sense of unity they felt while supporting Zimbabwe and to honor Pat’s memory by lending support to the Nicaragua project.

Inauguration event for Escuela Ruben Darío, Los Baldes, Nicaragua
Inauguration event for Escuela Ruben Darío, Los Baldes, Nicaragua

Pat was herself a teacher, and I’m told she had a special love for preschool. Sister Sandy Price once said that there was never a day when she mixes paint that she doesn’t think of Pat. This is understandable, given that Pat was so inspired to help with the Nicaragua project that she gave a considerable portion of her own income to support it and, as was often the case, she did not stop there.

She also got other schools involved in raising thousands of dollars and donating athletic equipment, workbooks, paint, and other school supplies.  In fact, Pat’s efforts and the efforts of those whom she inspired raised enough funds and supplies to start three schools in Nicaragua.

Perhaps there is no more perfect way to honor Pat’s memory and to live out the charism of St. Julie than to continue the ministry of helping to develop schools in Nicaragua. Fundraising for the Nicaragua Project begins on April 8, the 200-year anniversary of Julie’s death.

And perhaps there is no better way to be reminded that both Pat and St. Julie live on in our hearts, continuing to inspire us to come together—to be, to do, and to give all that we can. May we inspire others to join with us, just as Pat did, once more reminding the world that God is good.


Celebrating the Sisters in Brazil

Marlene DeNardo (left) with Sisters and friends in Brazil.
Marlene DeNardo (left) with Sisters and friends in Brazil.

In honor of the 50th anniversary celebration of our Sisters in Brazil, we sent 150 beautiful sunflower greeting cards created by our artist, Associate Therese Curotto. Our gift went "special delivery" with Marlene de Nardo, one of the founding members of our mission to Brazil in 1962. In response, Sister Ani Wihbey sent the following message in the name of the Brazilian Sisters along with lovely bookmarks that have a copy of the banner used at their celebration. The exchange of these messages of loving support and simple gifts are a tangible reminder of our interconnectedness and strengthens our relationship. As Saint Julie reminds us, "Our charity must not be limited by the love we have for one another. It must make our hearts as wide as the world."

Dear California Associates, thank you for you warm greetings and promise of prayers expressing your solidarity with our Notre Dame Community and the people of Brazil.  We shared your beautiful greeting cards with our Sisters, Associates and friends during our celebration.  Your thoughtful gift is greatly appreciated.  God bless you!  In Notre Dame, Sr. Ani

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