By Sister Eileen Therese Przybylowski
This is an account of my leadership of the Holy Family of Nazareth Associate Group over the past 25 years.
"Is there anything more we can do?"
This question arose as I was leading a monthly reflection group in September of 1997. As a staff chaplain I joined in on the project initiated by the Nazareth Hospital Mission Committee. The question raised by John McLelland sparked the beginning of another Association of the Holy Family group, and is still seeking more after 25 years.
While many members are now with God—Margaret Dubyak, Kathleen Jo Massaro and Mayna Morelli—other original members and I experienced how our group expanded and moved from the Nazareth Hospital Convent to Mount Nazareth. Through a progression of monthly and annual meetings, workshops, retreats and visiting our Sisters on the second floor at Mount Nazareth, we continued to learn more about our Nazareth Charism, Mother Foundress, our Eleven Martyred Sisters and the spirit of the Holy Family. Our personal daily work on the job, involvement with parish ministries, volunteering and caring for family and neighbors were all opportunities to live the more.
In 2002, when Hattie Cuirle died, I suggested that we pray for her to ask the Holy Family for seven more members. Indeed, they joined us in a short time. During the pandemic we prayed the Healing Rosary for Families during a weekly phone Conference Call from June 13, 2020 to the present. The Conference Call was suggested by Margaret Sitbon who was working on her computer job at home, and because of this, the Associates were able to renew their commitments annually, pray novenas with the Sisters, and join with them for Liturgical and Congregational Feasts. We prayed for the needs of all, including the Sisters, and especially on their birthdays. I, myself, was supported by their prayers when hospitalized twice. Our bonds with the Holy Family and each other were only deepened more through these weekly Conference Calls.
This year I was in the process of orienting a new member when three more women joined us. Having celebrated my 90th birthday in April, I felt myself slowing down. Witnessing the quick decline and death of two of our Sisters recently, I realized that this could happen to me as well. I did not want the group to be left suddenly without a leader, so I prayed to Mother Foundress and our Martyred Sisters who surrendered all. What more could I do? I received my answer soon enough: "Let go and Let God..."
Our Sister Marcella Louise Wallowicz graciously stepped up and accepted the leadership of this group. Thank you, Sister, for being willing to give more.
I am grateful to the Holy Family for journeying with this group. We worked to give more to spread the Kingdom of God. Now they can continue our mission with their new leader, giving more of themselves to God's Family through the mission of the Holy Family.