Frances Therese Zindel was born to Isabel Fraustet and Louis Joseph Zindel, in Bayonne, New Jersey on Christmas day 1929 and baptized on January 5, 1930 at St. Henry Parish in Bayonne. She was one of four children her older sister, Eileen was a member of the Benedictine Community at the time Fran was applying to our Community. Her sister Marie married as did her brother Eugene. She was close to her nieces and nephews, it was clear she loved them dearly.
Before applying to enter the Community Fran belonged to the MCA for four years. Her Pastor, Msg. Doyle, wrote in his letter of recommendation: “It gives me great pleasure to recommend Miss Frances Zindel a member of our Parish. Her love for Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament convinces me that she will prove a worthy aspirant to the sisterhood of the Most Blessed Trinity.”
Frances wrote to Mother Mary Francis at the time of her application to the Community: “Every morning at Mass I pray that I shall be worthy of the honor I hope to gain by being allowed to become a Missionary Servant of the Most Blessed Trinity.” Fran entered the Community on September 24, 1947. She entered Novitiate on March 24, 1948 and received the name Sr. Mary Christine of the Nativity. On March 25, 1949 she made her First Profession of Vows and three years later on March 25, 1952 she made her Final Vow commitment.
For her first years in the Community Mary Christine served in several Missions, Town Hill, Connecticut; Norfolk, Virginia; Brooklyn, NY; Southington, CT; Rochester, NY; Birmingham, AL in positions of Pastoral Ministry and Parish census taking. In 1971 she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Alabama and four years later-her Master’s Degree in Religious Studies from the Loyola University, New Orleans.
Her subsequent Missions included: Huntsville, AL; Roanoke, VA in the area of Religious Education. In 1982 she graciously accepted the position of Director of Pastoral Care here at the Motherhouse, following her three year commitment to this Ministry she was assigned to Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Seaford, DE. In 1987 she accepted the assignment to Blessed Trinity Shrine Retreat in Holy Trinity, AL where she served on the Retreat Team for four years. Once again responding to her call to Ministry as a Religious Educator Mary Christine served at St. Timothy Parish, Tappahannock, VA as Parish Minister and Director of Religious Education. The Parish was staffed with our ST priests.
Over the years Mary Christine served as Custodian in several of her Missions. She served on the Task force for Retired and on the Task Force for Missionary Cenacle Spirituality. She was faithful to attending Seminars and updates in her field of Religious Education.
In 1999 Mary Christine returned to the Motherhouse as Minister of Spiritual Life which she served over the next five years. As her health began declining and she faced several surgeries for knee replacement and hip replacement Mary Christine’s activities changed and she adapted to assisting in Intra-Community Ministries. She began Prayer Shawl Ministry Group at the Motherhouse- (which continues to meet and provide comfort to the sick and terminally ill with the lovely shawls and blankets the group provides). She found great comfort in the prayer shawl she received several years ago and all who cared for her knew what significance it had for her and made sure it was with her.
In the last few months Sr. Mary Christine’s health took a decided turn and she valiantly faced each set back. Her deep faith and care for others has been evident throughout this journey home. She was endeared to the health care personnel and medical staff in the Hospital and at Mother Boniface Missionary Cenacle at Wesley and to the Holy Redeemer Hospice Care personnel. While in St. Mary’s Hospital, Sr. Mary Christine requested her change of mission to Mother Boniface Cenacle at Wesley as she realized she was at a new junction of her journey home. Her graciousness and concern for others was ever a part of her mission during these last weeks of life.
Sr. Mary Christine of the Nativity- thank you for your life-long commitment as a Missionary Servant of the Most Blessed Trinity. May our dear Lord enfold you in His arms and wrap you with His Prayer Shawl for all eternity.