Sister Natalie DeLuca
Sr. Natalie was born in Erie, Pennsylvania, to Italian immigrant parents. She entered the Mission Helpers Community in 1956 and began her ministry as a teacher of religion in Fairport, New York. Over the next years, education remained her primary focus: she served on the Diocesan Staff on Religious Education in Richmond, Virginia, and Washington, DC; as well as in parishes in Harrisonburg, Virginia; South Williamsport, Pennsylvania; and Altamonte Springs, Florida.
She was elected to the Mission Helpers’ Community Service Board in 1996 and became vice president in 2000. In recent years she has played a vital role in the Community’s Office of Mission Advancement.
Reflecting on her 50-year ministry, Sr. Natalie says the greatest challenge was bringing to life the recommendations and the teachings of Vatican II. “Prior to the Second Vatican Council,” she says, “religious instruction was rigid and regimented with a stress on sin. Afterwards the emphasis was on God’s love, although we didn’t deny that sin was a part of the human picture.”
“What we did as Mission Helpers was to put the Gospel message into a framework that children would feel confident about. We didn’t do away with doctrine, we balanced it with the message hat God gives you love unconditionally.”
Sr. Natalie has a B.A. from Notre Dame of Maryland University and an M.A. from Manhattan College.