Sister M. Dorine Nichols, CSC

(May 26, 1920 - February 9, 2014)

Word has been received of the death of Sister M. Dorine (Nichols), who died at 6:15 a.m. on Sunday, February 9, 2014, in Saint Mary’s Convent, Notre Dame, Indiana.

Sister Dorine was enthusiastic about everything. She was a sister with a “cause.” Her most passionate support in recent years was the Right to Life campaign. She wore its symbol of the little red rose with the word “life” embroidered under it on her lapel every day. Many justice issues also became her concern, and she was always more than willing to share her staunch views with anyone who was willing to listen.

In many ways, Sister Dorine was somewhat old fashioned in her ideas and approach to religious life. “I’m not for all this newfangled stuff,” she would say, and then smile benignly at those who expressed other points of view. She was a solid religious, grounded in deep spiritual practices. “Nothing frivolous,” she declared.

Sister Dorine taught the first or second grade for the 47 years she spent in the classrooms of the elementary schools in the East. Forty of those years were in the schools in Texas and her melodic southern drawl reflected that influence.

Sister Dorine was a loving person and related beautifully with the little ones entrusted to her care. She was a wonderful teacher, imparting to her first-graders the essential skills they needed but, more importantly, she taught them the love of books and reading. Because of the warmth and kindness of her approach, her students loved school — a marvelous gift.

She had a great influence not only on her students, but also on the many parents and friends that fell under her gracious spell. Roger Staubach, a Heisman Trophy winner and former member of the Dallas Cowboys football team, had a daughter in Sister Dorine’s class. The Staubachs became close friends with Sister Dorine and were delighted with the love of school that Sister’s techniques fostered in their daughter. Sister Amalia Marie (Rios), who was also in Texas at that time, declares, “The Dallas Cowboys credited the team’s successful football season to Sister Dorine’s prayers.”

The same loving attitude, which was second nature to Sister Dorine, extended to all those to whom she ministered, especially the patients at St. Joseph’s Adult Day Services in South Bend, Indiana, a ministry she embraced after leaving the teaching field at age 70. Sister Dorine devoted the next 13 years to spreading her love and compassion to the senior citizens who came to the center.

She described how she began each day with them. “I socialized with them every morning when I came in; I talked to each one and opened up the day with a little cheery note.” Besides setting the tone for each day, she took on many other roles during her years of service there. Conducting prayer and Communion services, performing all kinds of clerical tasks and even helping to serve meals when needed — all became part of Sister Dorine’s daily routine and she delighted in it.

The same qualities that typified her years in ministry were exemplified in her life in community. Sister Dorine was kind and service-oriented, always willing to help. She was an eager learner if she was unfamiliar with a certain task or responsibility, nothing was too demanding for her generous heart. She was interested in each sister with whom she lived, and her interest and concern reached out to their family members as well. Once a friend, always a friend — she never forgot them and kept in contact over the years with letters and phone calls, keeping up as families expanded and moved about the country. The treasure she gave with her friendship was a share in her prayers.

Sister Dorine was deeply prayerful and even intense in her devotions. Those who visited her in her retirement years soon became aware that her designated time for prayer, especially the rosary, was not to be interrupted. The Sacred Heart, Saint Joseph and the Blessed Mother were her special friends; her love was simple, sincere and all-embracing. All of her earthly friends now have an advocate in heaven; they will reap the reward of their love and devotion to Sister Dorine through her intercession with her heavenly friends. Rejoice with her. May she rest in peace.


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