Date of Birth: September 4, 1924
Date of Profession: February 11, 1953
Date of Death: March 31, 2023
Religious of the Sacred Heart Nancy Ghio died on March 31, 2023, in Atherton, California. She was 98 years old and a member of the Society of the Sacred Heart for 78 years. Nancy was born on September 4, 1924, in St. Louis, Missouri, to Humbert S. Ghio and Mary Sheehan Ghio. She grew up with two brothers, one of whom became a priest in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.
After high school, Nancy felt a deep desire to join the Society of the Sacred Heart. “I wanted to do this,” she said. Nancy was the first in her family to enter religious life, a step that created consternation in the family. Nancy recalled a childhood moment that did not foreshadow her vocation. In the early 1930s, she was walking past the parish convent with her mother on what happened to be washday. The sisters’ religious habits were on the line to dry, catching the young girl’s attention. “I told my mother, ‘Don’t ever let me be a nun!’” Her mother reminded Nancy of that later. “I just thought their clothes were funny.”
Nancy entered the Society of the Sacred Heart at Kenwood in Albany, New York, in 1944 and pronounced her first vows there in 1946. She left for probation in 1952 and made her final profession on February 11, 1953, in Rome.
After finishing her novitiate in Albany, she returned to St. Louis in 1946 to teach at City House for one year, followed by Villa Duchesne until 1950. She then went on to the Academy of the Sacred Heart in St. Charles (1950-1952). She returned to Villa Duchesne in 1953 for one year, followed by the Academy of the Sacred Heart (the Rosary) in New Orleans (1954-1955). From 1955 to 1958, she taught at the Academy of the Sacred Heart in St. Charles. She returned to City House in 1958 for two years, followed by the Academy of the Sacred Heart, St. Charles (1960-1964). Sister Ghio became the coordinator of activities for the Shrine of St. Philippine Duchesne in St. Charles for a short time. Her last active years were spent at Villa Duchesne in St. Louis.
Sister Ghio graduated from Maryville University with a degree in education and taught in Sacred Heart schools for close to seventy years, teaching English literature and composition primarily to middle school students. Over the years, she taught a few grandmothers, many mothers, and their children. She loved them all, and said that “God’s greatest gifts to us were children and flowers, and I particularly love them in bunches!”
A graduate of Villa Duchesne recounts the impact Sister Ghio made on her as a middle school student, saying that Sister Ghio’s guidance and rigorous rule was like a little angel on her shoulder telling her what and what not to do. “Carrying that little Sister Ghio on my shoulder, with her wisdom and dry wit, makes life all the more meaningful and fun.”
Sister Ghio moved from the Jaccard Lane community next to Villa Duchesne in St. Louis to the Oakwood Retirement Center in Atherton, California, in 2020. On March 31, 2023, Sister Ghio quietly went to God. She had received close to a 100 letters from her students telling her what a difference she had made in their lives.
A memorial Mass will be celebrated for Sister Ghio on June 3 at 10:00 a.m. in the Oakwood Chapel, 140 Valparaiso Avenue, Atherton, California 94027.
Memorial gifts may be made to the Society of the Sacred Heart at 4120 Forest Park Ave., St. Louis, MO 63108 or through this website.