A parishioner at St. Christopher Church in Tiverton for half a century, Pauline Nadeau is well-known for her “quiet and consistent” efforts on behalf of her parish through the decades.
For more than 40 of those years she has served on the parish’s Women’s Guild, where she currently leads the organization as co-president.
While Nadeau also broadened the scope of her volunteer service through the years to other parishes in the Newport County Deanery, teaching students from Newport County about the sacraments and assisting with a CYO program in Portsmouth, the St. Christopher community has benefitted the most from her nurturing ways.
“If there is a parish yard sale, feast, picnic or Lenten fish fry, Pauline can be found working hard to make it a success. She truly is an example of someone who shows hospitality and believes in service to others,” said Father Przemyslaw Lepak, pastor of St. Theresa and St. Christopher Parish, who nominated Nadeau for a Lumen Gentium award in the category of Parish Service.
And when thoughts turn to spring and nature begins to bloom once again, Nadeau ensures that the grounds of her beloved church burst with color.
“Through her efforts in coordinating with parishioners to obtain seasonal flowers from their gardens, the altar and the statue of the Blessed Mother always have appropriate flowers or greenery. The outdoor shrine and the flowers in front of the church are always cared for by Pauline, and she and her grandchildren put a new coat of paint on the statue of Mary not too long ago,” Father Lepak said.
Pauline became a religious education teacher while raising her own young children. She became a sacramental preparation coordinator for first reconciliation and first Eucharist students happily making banners each year with the children about to receive their first Communion.
To help make that special day even more memorable, she would bake a small loaf of bread for each first Communion student, placing the loaves in front of the altar during rehearsal as a symbol to the children that on the following day they would be receiving the actual body of Christ in the sacrament.
Nadeau also taught rosary making and how to pray the rosary to second and third grade students and coordinated the children’s Christmas Pageant for many years.
“Prayer has been very important in my life. If you get away from the basics of the faith you lose the meaning of it,” Nadeau said.
“We try to keep prayer the main focus in our lives. We just have to think of the pope who gets up at 4 o’clock in the morning to pray.”
Nadeau grew up in nearby Fall River, Massachusetts, where her family was very involved at St. Anne’s Church. For 12 years she was formed in her faith at Dominican Academy.
“The Dominican sisters showed me very well how to do things,” she smiles.
Once I got to St. Christopher’s my neighborhood was 90 percent Catholic so we were all involved in the church.
“Most of life revolves around the church. We’ve got such a wonderful family group at St. Christopher’s. They are like my parish family. It’s the basis for my faith.”
Pauline and her late husband of 42 years, Marcel, have two adult married children, Philip and Andrea, and four grandchildren.
Over the next several weeks, Rhode Island Catholic will feature profiles of the winners of the diocese’s 2018 Lumen Gentium Awards, which formally recognize those who ‘toil in the vineyard’ in service to the Lord, and minister to those in greatest need in their parish or community. The honorees will be awarded during a dinner at Twin River Event Center in Lincoln on Wednesday, May 16. Guests wishing to purchase tickets to the dinner — whose proceeds will support Diocesan Hispanic Ministries — are asked to register online at www.dioceseofprovidence.org/lumen-gentium-awards. For any questions about the event, please call 401-277-2121.