Sister Teresa Nasche, SHSp, teacher and hospital chaplain, dies at 92

by Joan Kurkowski-Gillen

North Texas Catholic

February 10, 2020

Sister Teresa Nasche (Courtesy Holy Spirit Sisters)

FORT WORTH — For Mother’s Day, Alice Curran sent Holy Spirit Sister Teresa Nasche a poem she wrote that captured the religious woman’s lifelong dedication to students, the struggling poor, and the sick. The retired St. Andrew parish staff member felt the holiday, dedicated to motherhood, was an appropriate time to celebrate a partner in ministry known for nurturing others.

She taught children for years and years.

Loved them, formed them, and wiped their tears.

Then all the years on campus she walked,

Being there, present when they were ready to talk.

On to chaplaincy and loving the sick,

Praying and holding them and responding so quick.

“People I know who were ministered by her were blessed for life,” observed Curran, remembering how Sr. Teresa brought holy Communion and comforting words to Fort Worth’s downtown hospital patients. “Over the years, I’ve heard many warm stories about her. Even when she was having health issues, she walked the halls of Harris Hospital and met with everyone she could.”

The longtime hospital chaplain, who worked in the Diocese of Fort Worth for several decades, died February 3 at her order’s motherhouse, the Convent of the Holy Spirit and Mary Immaculate in San Antonio. She was 92.

Born January 3, 1928, to Carmella and Jacomo Nasche, Sr. Teresa grew up with her 10 brothers and sisters on Fort Worth’s Northside. In 1945, she joined the Sisters of the Holy Spirit and took final vows in 1950.

Laverne Nasche, the widow of Sr. Teresa’s late brother, Angelo, said her husband was proud of his sister’s decision to enter the convent and live a life of service.

“She loved people and children and wanted to help the downtrodden,” added the sister-in-law, who lives in Muenster.

Sr. Teresa could make a stranger feel at ease — a helpful trait when dealing with the sick and infirmed.

“She liked spending time with people whose families were gone and had no one to visit them,” Nasche recalled. “She was always upbeat and could bring a smile to someone’s face by just walking into the room. She had a gift for that.”

A skilled musician who learned to play the piano by ear as a child, Sr. Teresa shared her talent for song and composition with other members of the religious community, according to Sister Veronica Cahill, SHSp.

“She prayed in words and prayed in music,” explained the congregation’s spokesperson, describing how the late sister penned the hymn, “O Praised Be the Holy Spirit,” which the order still sings on special occasions. “The song was here when I came to the community 50 years ago, so she was pretty young when she wrote it. She filled our chapel and house with music.”

But first and foremost, Sr. Teresa was an educator who taught in primarily African American schools in Dallas before coming to the Diocese of Fort Worth where she worked at St. George and Our Mother of Mercy Schools.

“She was a teacher by profession in her earlier years and was principal of Good Shepherd School in Garland and taught for a long time at St. Peter School in Dallas,” Sr. Cahill continued. “She also did a lot of work in campus ministry.”

A memory book, given to Sr. Teresa as a gift, contained a collection of photos, letters, and mementos from her extraordinary life. Curran remembers being shown the book and reading one of the entries — a letter written by one of Sr. Teresa’s former students in Dallas.

“This man wrote how her kindness and attention touched him as a child and how it affected him in his adult years. It was beautiful,” Curran said. “She was a strong, compassionate, loving soul.”

Funeral services for Sr. Teresa were held February 6 in San Antonio with interment in the convent cemetery. She is survived by members of her community as well as many relatives and friends.

Memorial donations can be made to the ministries of the Sisters of the Holy Spirit.

FORT WORTH — For Mother’s Day, Alice Curran sent Holy Spirit Sister Teresa Nasche a poem she wrote that captured the religious woman’s lifelong dedication to students, the struggling poor, and the sick.

Published (until 12/5/2039)