(Sister Mary Eugenius)
“My body is 95, but I am not 95 and don’t intend to be,” Sister Lucy Villanova declares. She feels much younger because she stays active, energized, creative, and HAPPY.
On a typical day at St. Joseph Residence in Seattle, you’ll find her participating in a small morning prayer group, working a jigsaw puzzle or contributing to solving the communal one on the fourth floor, creating cards on her computer for sisters’ birthdays, designing collages or banners, joining in in-house activities or going on a group outing. After decades of teaching students to be creative, she still has enough time and drive to make beautiful things for herself and others.
Born Lucille Villanova in the Chicago area, she lost her mother before she was two. She was cared for by her father and her maternal grandparents and their relatives until she was 10, then she and her sister Rose were taken to St. Mary’s Training School in Des Plaines, Illinois, (now Maryville Academy), under the care of the Sisters of Mercy and later by the Sisters of Providence when they took over in 1936. Lucy entered the community at Mount St. Vincent, Seattle, in 1942 and professed first vows in 1943.
Her first mission was the care of young children ages 3 to 12 at Providence Academy, in Vancouver, Washington. Sister Lucy has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the College of Great Falls (now the University of Providence) in Montana and a Master of Arts degree from Notre Dame University in Indiana. For 30 years she taught elementary, junior high and high school students in Washington, Alaska and California. Then she returned to the College of Great Falls in 1967 to teach art techniques to teachers.
She ended her teaching years in 1974 and then took on other projects like producing artwork for the bazaar at Providence Hospital, Everett, and as a staff artist for Catholic Communications Northwest in Seattle. A one-year assignment to teach at Providence High School in Burbank led to 16 years there as receptionist, artist-in-residence, alumni director, assistant public relations director and assistant director of development.
One memorable project was a mosaic made of panels of Byzantine glass tiles that she designed for the baptistery of St. Finbar Church in Burbank. A special joy was a trip to Europe – England, France, Spain, Italy, Germany and Belgium – to tour the world’s great museums.
“I have had such a good life, I wanted to share it with other people,” Sister Lucy said. “My joy is seeing other people happy and the beauty of nature around us – the mountains, sunsets, sunrises, the peacefulness. There is a lot of activity here at SJR, but there is also peace.”