PARRISH -- More than 200 admirers of Sister Nora Brick attended a farewell celebration in her honor Sunday, and the buzz in the Mother Cabrini Center in Parrish when the adored nun walked in was how well she looked.
Brick, 81, the victim of a violent physical assault on Valentine’s Day, was walking with vigor in her step.
“I am totally restored, thanks to your prayers,” Sister Nora said, speaking into a microphone as cameras flashed in the Center, part of St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church. “I felt your prayers as I was recovering.”
After 37 years serving the needy of Manatee County, especially migrant workers, Sister Nora is retiring.
She will leave the Stillpoint House of Prayer on 14th Street West in Bradenton, which she founded more than a decade ago. in the hands of Sister Noelle Hart from her Franciscan order.
The diminutive Irish nun’s eyes filled with tears once during the reception in her behalf, that being while talking about migrant workers.
“My heart is broken to be leaving my migrant families,” Sister Nora said. “It is hard to separate from them. But God has something for me.
“I will also miss all of those who donated rice, beans, flour and money for medicine,” Sister Nora said. “I will also miss all those who prayed at Stillpoint.”
The Franciscan nun had words of wisdom to impart at the event, sponsored by Project Light and Stillpoint House of Prayer.
“If there is anything I could change about the world it’s that we are suffering from a cancer of noise,” Sister Nora said. “TVs are blazing. Children have little communication with their parents because they are so absorbed in the noise. Jesus went to a lonely place to pray. We must all find such places where we can be still and know God.”
Lakewood Ranch’s Anna Higginbotham, 14, and her sister, Rose, 11, who attend Our Lady of the Angels Catholic Church on State Road 70, attended the farewell with their parents, Beth and Bill.
“We had to come and wish her love,” Beth Higginbotham said. “She’s the real deal.”
On a trip to Stillpoint House of Prayer in 2008, Anna got the idea to donate backpacks to children.
When the backpack project began, Beth Higginbotham wondered how she and her daughters would get more than about 50 backpacks collected.
“Sister Nora told us, ‘Don’t worry. Just believe. God will take care of the rest,’” Higginbotham said.
“We ended up having backpacks stacked all through our house,” Rose said.
The first year, Anna and Rose collected 450 backpacks. The second year it was 600. Now, a youth group at Our Lady of Angels is continuing the project.
“Sister Nora taught me to appreciate what I have,” Anna said. “She is one of the nicest people I ever met.”