Sister Nancy Morris celebrates her 90th birthday surrounded by her multiple-generation “fan club”
Editor’s note: On the occasion of her 90th birthday, Sister Nancy Morris, profiled on InMenlo in 2011, was feted today with a Mass followed by a luncheon on the Sacred Heart Prep campus. A presence at both Sacred Heart Schools and St. Raymond School, Sister Nancy is much beloved by multiple generations of children, teens and parents, whose lives she’s touched, including Laura Daschbach Pitchford, who offers her thoughts below.
My memories of Sister Nancy Morris span a lifetime, from my early days at the Convent of the Sacred Heart to today, celebrating her 90th birthday — memories that include her impact not just on my life, but in the lives of many members of my large extended family.
In 1971, when Sr. Nancy arrived at the Convent of the Sacred Heart, Menlo, as it was known then, I was in sixth grade. I was what you call a “lifer,” starting Sacred Heart in 1964 as a preschooler and graduating from high school in 1977. Following my fourth grade year, the lower school of the Convent of the Sacred Heart combined with St. Joseph’s so, while I started my years at the Convent, I graduated from St. Joseph Grammar School and then from the Convent of the Sacred Heart Menlo. Sr. Nancy was the Head of Schools from 6th grade through my senior year of high school.
My three sisters, LeeLee, Lisa and Michele, also graduated from the Convent in 1972, 1976 and 1982 respectively, so Sr. Nancy was present on campus part or all of their time there.
Sr. Nancy’s impact on the school has been widely documented in recent articles. She has left an important mark on the school. But she has also left an important mark on our family.
I followed Sr. Nancy’s footsteps to Cal, and it was Sr. Nancy who wrote my rush recommendation letter for the Kappa house. We have often compared our wonderful memories as Cal Kappas and proud Cal alums.
Sr. Nancy and my father, Howard Daschbach, worked together for years, first as active members of the Board of Trustees, and then as spiritual friends who shared Mass every morning, either at Oakwood or St. Raymond Church. Their friendship lasted until my father’s death. At his funeral, Sr. Nancy spoke about Dad and their friendship as eloquently as she does everything. She was there to support my mother and our family. Just last week, she visited with mom at home, as she often has done over the years.
In addition to the Sacred Heart community, Sr. Nancy dedicated her time to helping St. Raymond School with development efforts. For the 11 years that my kids were students there, we worked closely together. She wrote the monthly newsletter, assisted with the student council and assisted the Principal and Vice Principal.
During her years there, the Daschbach/Fuerst/Pitchford families had eight cousins at the school, and Sr. Nancy had an impact on that generation as well. Four of the cousins were the President of the Student Body and, as such, were responsible for giving their eighth grade graduation speech. Sr. Nancy was instrumental in helping them prepare and deliver those speeches.
More recently, we have spent more of our time sitting on the sidelines of the Sacred Heart Prep football, basketball and baseball games. My nephew, Andrew Daschbach, was Sr. Nancy’s Sacred Heart Society student. They shared hours together during the week as part of their Sacred Heart Society relationship, but spent even more time as friends. Sr. Nancy was Andrew’s biggest fan. During Andrew’s final year of football, the team went to the State Championship in San Diego. Who was the first person on the bus? Sr. Nancy.
Sr. Nancy has been a part of the lives of three generations of Daschbach family members. She has been a spiritual and emotional support in good times and in bad. But most importantly she has been a friend and for that we are all grateful. Thank you, Sr. Nancy Morris. Happy 90th Birthday and God bless you.
Photos courtesy of Laura Pitchford. Top: Mark Daschbach, St. Nancy Morris, Laura Daschbach Pitchford; Top right: Sr. Nancy in 1976; Lisa Gamatian, Sr. Nancy and Sr. Clare Pratt during cake presentation; Member of the St. Raymond community (most part of SHP as well); Sr. Nancy with current head of school Rich Dioli