August 1, 1917 – March 12, 2000
On August 1, 1917, a happy surprise greeted the family of Andrew and Frances Nizol, both immigrants from Poland. After five boys, a daughter was born to them. The happy parents named the little girl Helen Marie. She was sealed with the Holy Spirit in Baptism on September 9th in All Saints Parish in Flint, Michigan.
Helen grew up with her brothers and attended All Saints Parish School, where she made her first Communion and conceived the desire to become a Sister. She was confirmed by Bishop Plagens on October 28, 1928. After completing the eighth grade, she communicated her desire to become a Sister to her confessor, Rev. Bruno Hagspiel. He recommended her to Mother Eveline. Helen Marie came to Marywood as an aspirant in 1935 and completed her high school at Marywood Academy. She was received into the novitiate on August 15, 1937 and received the habit on February 16, 1938; henceforth, she was known as Sister Mary Constance of the Blessed Sacrament.
Following profession on March 11, 1939, she began a career of teaching that spanned grades one to twelve and which took her to many of the schools operated by the Congregation in Michigan. Meanwhile, she continued her education during summer vacations, earning a B.A. degree and her Teaching Certificate from Aquinas College with additional courses at Marquette and Central Michigan Universities. At Marquette and the University of Detroit she completed courses in Counseling and Guidance.
Her health was never robust; anemia and severe tension headaches were a constant burden, requiring frequent medical attention. She frequently expressed gratitude to the Congregation for the care and opportunities extended to her. Her published remarks on the occasion of her Golden Jubilee begin with, “For me, this Golden Jubilee means gratitude.”
Some of the changes that occurred after Vatican Council II were of concern to Sister Constance. She believed the changes were not always conducive to the living of religious life. In the mysterious designs of Divine Providence, one of the adaptations the Congregation made in response to the renewal was to allow Sisters to seek the ministry most adapted to their specific gifts. This enabled Sr. Constance to enter her final, satisfying years of ministry in hospital pastoral care.
While visiting a sick friend at University Hospital, Ann Arbor, she became acquainted with the Clinical Pastoral Education program recently introduced there. She was attracted by it and requested permission to enter the program on January 31, 1972. Permission granted, she pursued the course during 1972-73 at the University Medical Center.
In 1974 she began the work which was to occupy her remaining active years. With her companion, Sister Mary Reparata, she was privileged to minister in the name of Catholic parishes of Genesee County at Flint Osteopathic Hospital, Genesee Memorial Hospital, Hurley Medical Center and McLaren Regional Medical Center by visiting and counseling patients and their loved ones, and distributing Holy Communion.
Like St. Paul, Sister Constance knew from day to day and year unto year; “The life I live now is not my own, Christ is living in me. Forgetting what is behind, I strain forward to what is before, God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus. Only goodness and kindness follow me all the days of my life.” On Sunday evening, March 12, Jesus called her to Himself and her eternal reward.
Sister Constance is survived by her brother and sister-in-law Stanley and Ann Niziol of Flushing, Michigan, several nieces, nephews and many friends.
Entered eternal life on March 12, 2000 at the age of 82 after 62 years of religious life
We commend Sister Constance to your prayers.