Members of the province were saddened this past week with the news of the death of Sister Nazareth Ybarra in Madrid, Spain. Although many knew that her passing was imminent, there was a keen sense of loss as this vital woman left us to go home to God.
“Naza” came to the mission in Gros Morne, Haiti, in 1999, the first of RJM’s from Spain and other countries who joined the USA/Haiti Province in serving the people of this poorest country in the western hemisphere. It was undoubtedly her desire to be with the poor that led Nazareth to offer herself to minister in Haiti, and she did so with creativity and passion until illness forced her to retire to her native Spain.
Sr. Jacqueline Picard, who was one of those to welcome Nazareth when she first came to Gros Morne, spoke highly of her commitment to mission: “I always felt that Nazareth had an understanding of the struggles of the Haitian people. She was a woman of action on their behalf. She knew how important work was for everyone, and she opened two workshops to meet that need. There are many stories….”
Sr. Vivian Patenaude also shared life with Nazareth in Gros Morne, and it was these two who left there to make the first expansion of JM presence in Haiti when they began the Jean Rabel mission in 2002. Like Jackie, Viv had many memories of Naza’s devotion to the poor: “Ideas to help (them) came quickly and were carried out before you knew it and brought to completion each time. (She) believed in the abilities of others and found creative ways of bringing them out.” Viv also described Nazareth as “a woman strong of will and rooted in her faith,” and added a note that many would agree with: Living with Nazareth was an adventure!”
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