Yesterday Sister Samuel Azzolina died at 100 years of age. She was my French teacher at Villa Madonna many years ago. As you might imagine I was one of many students she taught throughout the years.
|Sr. Samuel Azzolina|
My memories of Sister Samuel go beyond that early experience as I came to know her in our community. She was a very gentle yet determined woman. Long after many others would have retired she and her sister, Sister Carmella, worked in various capacities at Holy Cross High School and parish. Their presence alone was the most important work that they did. Sister Carmella who is 103 and in relative good health will carry on here at the monastery.
Whenever we spoke through the years Sister Samuel always gave me words of encouragement and concern. I think she might have thought of me as a teenager regardless of my age. I so appreciated that care and interest in what I was doing in community and at Villa Madonna.
Seeing Sister Samuel so sick in the past year was always hard for me. For someone so active to be unable to speak and be part of our life made me sad. As I've thought about my feelings since yesterday I realize that Sister Samuel was living life to the fullest for her. It didn't matter if she was up and about or suffering in her room, she was very much alive and part of our lives.
While it may be cliche, "live until you die" might be the best expression of her life. I can only hope it will be mine.
Sr. Nancy Kordenbrock, OSB