Written on: February 2, 2015
I knew Grey Nuns in high school and when I began looking for a congregation to enter, I thought maybe one that I didn’t know would be more exciting. But, I began to realize through the women I met at Holy Angels Academy that, with the Grey Nuns, I could be myself and that appealed to me.” That decision, made forty-one years ago, has made all the difference in Sister Nancy Maria Kaczmarek’s life.
A native of Buffalo, New York, Sister Nancy Maria attended Holy Angels Academy and later D’Youville College, earning a degree in English. She taught in elementary and high school for several years. “A highlight of my ministry was the time I spent at Melrose Academy (high school) near Philadelphia teaching both English and History. The faculty there had a tremendous commitment to teaching, the students were open and accepting and my six years there seemed to fly by.”
Gradually, she came to realize “There were things I had learned about teaching that would help others avoid the mistakes I had made. Having pursued a master’s degree and a doctorate in English Education, she is presently a teacher of teachers – a Professor in the Education Department at D’Youville College in Buffalo.
“I love the optimism of my students and their commitment to being the best teachers they can be. I feel that by influencing these men and women, I also make an impact on their students. So my career change from high school teacher to teacher of future secondary school teachers is the perfect ministry for me.”
As a faculty member at D’Youville College, Sister Nancy has come full circle from student to teacher. “I treasure the heritage of D’Youville and the Grey Nuns who were its foundation stones. It dazzles me to realize how much they did with so little. Everything was of the highest quality. We are now building on those foundations through the visionary and accomplished leadership of past Presidents and of Sister Denise Roche.” In her first class each semester, Nancy shares with her students the heritage of D’Youville and introduces them to the story and charism of St. Marguerite d’Youville, for whom the college is named.
In all of her important life decisions – from making a commitment to religious life to engaging in the most meaningful ministries – Sister Nancy says she has always felt God’s loving presence. “When I was in a quandary or looking for direction, there were always people in my life to help point the way – this was God’s way of being with me in these moments.” Like St. Marguerite, Sister Nancy trusts in God’s provident care.