Friday, February 18, 2011

Sister Nora's farewell will be bittersweet

Photo by TiffanyTompkins-Condie/
Sitting inside a cramped migrant apartment in East Bradenton fitting children with shoes for school.

Patiently teaching women English at Project Light on 14th Street West.

Giving an unlucky fellow a small check — and lecture — at Stillpoint House of Prayer a few blocks down the street.

They are but a few of the images I cherish of Sister Nora Brick.

There’s the one above, too, of the smiling 81-year-old Franciscan nun looking sharp in a mint-colored suit at a recent reception honoring her for some of her 30 years of selfless service to our community’s poor. We published that with today's coverage of Sister Nora's release from Manatee Memorial Hospital.

Manatee County’s Mother Teresa, indeed.

Yet how those pictures clash with the one I can’t get out of my mind from when I saw Sister Nora last.

It was this past Tuesday, the day after she’d been beaten, allegedly by Eliseo Ortiz, a troubled 51-year-old man who’d come to her trailer under the pretense of needing money to call his mother in Mexico for Valentine’s Day.

Sister Nora was asleep in Room 409 at Manatee Memorial Hospital when a nurse woke her and beckoned me into the room so I could express my sympathies and tell her to get well soon.

I did not recognize this holy woman.
Read more in Sunday's Mannix About Manatee.

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