When I first met her in the fall of 1970, Sr. Mary Fidelia Piwowar was at St. Stanislaus Bishop & Martyr Parish, the oldest Polish parish on the East Coast. I had been hired right before the opening of school to teach 5th grade, and there was very little time to prepare for the first day. Upon opening the door, I found Sr. Fidelia putting the finishing touches on the last bulletin board. That was no small job, because the entire room was covered with bulletin boards! She wanted to welcome the new teacher and make things easier for the start of the school year.
At St. Stan’s, Sr. Fidelia was in charge of the 1st Communion classes. She loved little children and bringing them to the Lord. She also coordinated the “Dzieci Marii” or “Children of Mary” and the “Crusader” groups for the May processions, Corpus Christi, and other devotions. The children would gather in the church hall and Sister would see that their veils and dresses were “just right” and that the boys had their capes on correctly.
These activities and teaching were not Sister’s only tasks. In addition to her duties at school and in the convent, Sr. Fidelia also arranged the flowers in the church and played the organ! This was no small feat, because Sister had lost several fingers in a kitchen accident while grinding meat. She had been provided with a prosthetic — a “glove with fingers” — which slipped over the injured hand, totally natural-looking.
When I left St. Stan’s a few years later, Sr. Fidelia and I remained in contact. When she was transferred to a parish in New England, I visited her. For some reason, the church was closed during the week, and the Blessed Sacrament was kept in another building. Sr. Fidelia took me there to visit the Lord. She always had a great love for Jesus.
When Sr. Fidelia was nearing the end of this life, I visited her at the Enfield Motherhouse. We had a good visit. Sister, ever gracious, showed me all around the convent, and again brought me to the chapel to visit the Lord. She tired easily those days and fell asleep for a while as we sat before the Lord. I sat there praying for this good woman. A week later, I received a call that the Lord had taken Sr. Mary Fidelia home, and I was invited to the funeral Mass.
I will always treasure the friendship we had, and HAVE, for I am certain that she still prays for all of us, but now face-to-face with our Lord in heaven.