Sister Nora Teresa Ashe died on October 14, 2013 in the 47th year of her religious life.
We come together; in faith and hope knowing God is with us in our pain, our bewilderment and in our fond memories of an exceptional woman, a Sister of Saint Joseph, Nora Teresa Ashe. It is significant that we come together, all of us siblings, cousins, from Ireland too, nieces, nephews, students, colleagues, classmates, alum, parishioners, friends and sisters in community. The myriad of connections present here today reveals how important relationships are in our lives, in times of sorrow and in times of joy. Nora knew that and lived to keep those connections strong within her family, ministries and community. And she did that with a vitality reflected in her vibrant eyes and buoyant smile.
Jesus’ command to love God and neighbor without distinction is central to the mission of our congregation. Nora lived that out in her dedication as an outstanding educator, always learning herself in order to motivate and challenge her students. She was an insatiable learner whether about different cultures, historical events, her beloved New York City and of course technology. She kept learning so that others would learn and sense their own dignity and their responsibility to positively influence society.
How fitting that we come together here in St. Athanasius, Brooklyn, where Nora taught for twelve years and has lived in the parish convent for thirty-seven years. We know she is a Sister of Saint Joseph but it is critically important to know she is a “Brooklyn Girl, “ growing up of immigrant parents, not too far from here and loving every well-known or hidden venue of the city.
As Sisters of Saint Joseph we look to the neighborhood, assess its needs and do everything a woman is capable of doing to meet those needs. Our tradition has guided us through different periods in history and challenged us to listen attentively to God speaking to our hearts and enabling us to respond. This has involved us in seeking justice for immigrants, empowering women and girls through education, caring for the aged and infirmed and working to change structures that create poverty, exclusion or domination.
Nora knew that and it was obvious to all because of her love of life, her enthusiasm to live each day to the fullest and her interest and compassion for each person in her life. Such vitality can only come from that deep space within. It is a sign of a deep, personal relationship with a loving God and Nora was open and nurtured that relationship in her life. It was expressed early on in her love of the Jesus Prayer and throughout her life in her interactions with others. Today we celebrate all she has been for us and rejoice that she now enjoys the fullness of life and limitless love. She will never stop being Nora and that means she will be connected to us in ways we cannot even imagine. Nora we are grateful for your presence with us, and the generous sharing of your many gifts. But most of all we thank you for your zest for life, your vibrant smile and your wisdom to keep what is most important, most important in our lives.
Sister Joan Gallagher:Norareflection.pdf