Back when she was still called Nancy Means, Nancy Kaz daydreamed about being a Dominican Sister. She even had her religious name picked out.
“I remember those days,” she mused. “That did not materialize; I had another path. But you always come full circle.” That “other path” turned out to be Nancy’s 2010 commitment as a Springfield Dominican Associate.
It all began at St. Christina Parish on Chicago’s South Side. Nancy recalls her grandmother admonishing her mother Rita to “never refuse those sisters” in the days when sisters relied on the kindness of parishioners for their transportation needs.
When Nancy was eleven her grandmother had a stroke. Sister Cletus, the school principal, ignored a custom that prevented sisters from entering private homes and sent two sisters to help the family. “Sister Dionysius and Sister Bernadette walked up the alley at night,” Nancy recalls, her voice trailing off. “They bathed my grandmother’s body and lifted her into a hospital bed. I remember that experience, that loving care of my grandmother.”
Nancy’s dad Bert also traversed that ally. The sisters called him “Nicodemus” she said, because, just like the Pharisee who visited Jesus under cover of darkness, he went to the convent after a full day’s work to make needed repairs.
A circle of welcome
When it was time to choose a high school for her children, Nancy didn’t hesitate to put them at Marian Catholic, Chicago Heights. There, she says, Alex, Kian, and Arthur received a first-class, values-based education. “I didn’t think of any place else to send my kids…there was no other thought of where to send them. The day I walked in the door with my first one—Alex—Sister M. DePaul was standing at the door waiting for me. “It was a beautiful welcome, “she says, because she and Sister DePaul had been friends for decades.
A circle of energy
Nancy shares her treasure, her time, and her generous heart. Her life is still grounded in her parish, her lifelong relationships with the Dominican Sisters, and the school that nurtured her children into adulthood.
“To whom much is given much is expected,” Nancy says, paraphrasing the Gospel of Luke 12:48. Living the Gospel, she believes, means sharing her blessings. “I think of money as energy. It has to circulate, it has to go out there. Whatever you put out comes back to you. The more you give the more you receive. It is how life functions, how the universe functions, and I have to live that.”
"Sister Dionysius and Sister Bernadette walked up the alley at night,” Nancy recalls, her voice trailing off. “They bathed my grandmother’s body and lifted her into a hospital bed. I remember that experience, that loving care of my grandmother.”
Our Friends are the Best!
We are blessed with many kind, dedicated friends like Nancy Kaz who freely share their stories about why they've decided to become partners in the Springfield Dominican Mission to preach the gospel of compassion for the life of the world. Read more stories here and come back often for new stories.