Pioneer Spirit in Action
Nancy Jane O’Reilly was born and raised in Brockton, Massachusetts, a factory town made up of Irish, Swedish, Italian and French families. The oldest of four children, she attended St. Patrick School in Brockton. Nancy Jane had a great deal of responsibility as a child with both of her parents working. She took care of her siblings and did the cooking.
Nancy Jane discovered that Sisters were really human after pinching her first grade teacher. She loved school and had great respect and admiration for her teachers. In the fourth grade Nancy Jane decided she wanted to be a teacher and Religious like Sister Theresa Mary De Genova.
Nancy entered the novitiate in 1956 and received the name Sister Xaveria and made vows in July 1957. Her primary ministries were as an elementary teacher and librarian, both of which she enjoyed and loved. She has always found her students, both in school and CCD classes, exciting and refreshing. She was loved by her students so much that they would leave their families and sit with her in church.
During Sister Nancy Jane’s 30 years as a teacher and librarian she taught a craft class for 3-1/2 years in Kentucky Correctional Institute for Women. Since she wasn’t allowed to take anything metal into the prison, her 8th graders volunteered to make packets of precut designs for her craft class. The women were also taught to crochet and knit. This made it possible for them to have Christmas and Easter gifts for their children. Sister solicited donations from various businesses and individuals in order to have an annual dinner for the inmates. The women looked forward to this special event. Sister Nancy Jane discontinued this ministry because of health reasons.
Even though she has experienced troubles and suffering, Sister Nancy Jane feels she has had a good life. She knows the good has outweighed the bad. Things have not always gone her way but she has put everything in God’s hands and let Him be in charge. This has given her peace and contentment. Currently a resident at Nazareth Village I, S. Nancy Jane is the proud owner of one of Sister Vincent Tehan’s breed of cats. Tinsin is a beautiful cat and affords S. Nancy Jane and visitors much joy.