Union: US – Michelle Navarro Receives the 2017 Nagle Award at St. Norbert Catholic School, Orange, Calif.

The administration of our parish school is very happy to continue a special tradition—the Nagle Award. Since its inaugural year in 2009, this award is given annually to one of our faculty members who, as described in essays written by our students, teaches the students about the life and work of Nano Nagle and exemplifies this brave woman’s efforts.

Nano Nagle was a very special woman who gave up a very comfortable life to minister to the poor and sick in the lanes of Cork, Ireland, in the 18th century. Nano secretly opened schools to teach children to read, write and practice their Catholic faith. She did this despite the oppressive Penal Laws that denied Irish people access to education and the celebration of their faith. Indeed, Nano Nagle was a spark of light in a very dark time and became known as the Lady with the Lantern.

Other women joined Nano in this beautiful ministry and eventually began an order of nuns called the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary; the same sisters who opened this school back in 1965. Here in Orange, California, the Presentation Sisters set out with a mission: “To model our lives on Jesus and on holy men and women who have preceded us (like St. Norbert and Nano Nagle). We are called as a family,” their mission continues, “to seek the truth, serve others, and contribute to building a peaceful world. Finally, when our mission on earth is accomplished, we will wear a crown of glory in the kingdom of Heaven.”

Today, we are grateful to have two Presentation Sisters in community here at St. Norbert—Sister Breda Christopher and Sister Immaculata Kelly.

This year we received 186 essays written on behalf of 15 teachers! Mrs. Navarro, our fifth grade teacher,was consistently described by students as kind hearted, selfless and patient. Many of her students shared with us great detail of Nano Nagle’s life. It is apparent to her students that this teacher is dedicated to God and to her work as a Catholic school teacher. Finally, this beautiful statement from one student: “I have learned from her that we can all help people in our own special way.”
We are very proud to present Mrs. Navarro with a lantern, framed certificate and a check for $1,500!