Maryknoll, NY: Sister Rita Nixon died on May 28, 2016 at Maryknoll Sisters Center. She was 91 years old and had been a Maryknoll Sister for 64 years.
Rita was born on May 22, 1925 in Beverly, MA to Katherine Amelia Nixon and Joseph Patrick Nixon. She had one brother, Joseph Francis and two sisters, Katherine and Mary Anne. All have predeceased her.
Rita graduated from St. Mary’s High School, Beverly, MA in 1942 and earned a diploma at Salem Commercial (1942-43). Following this she enrolled in nurses training at Beverly Hospital School of Nursing and earned her R.N. from 1943-46. After graduating she worked at Beverly Hospital for several months. She then went to the Boston Visiting Nurses’ Association where she worked for five years, during which time she also attended Simmons College, Boston (1947-48) where she earned a certificate in Public Health. She also organized the Star of the Sea Guild, the North Shore Chapter of the Boston Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Nurses and was the first Guild President. From 1950-51 she went to the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. for a semester and on September 6, 1951 entered the Maryknoll Sisters Congregation in Ossining, NY from St. Mary Star of the Sea Parish, Beverly, MA. At her reception she received the name Sister Rita Miriam. She made her first Profession of Vows on March 7, 1954 at the Maryknoll Sisters Motherhouse, in Ossining, NY and was assigned to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) that same year. Arriving in Kandy, Ceylon in 1955, she was Nursing Supervisor and Supervisor of Surgical Wards in a government hospital until 1959 when she was assigned to Kundasale and served as parish sacristan and to other parish and general house duties.
In 1960 she returned to the Motherhouse and Bethany, the Sisters’ nursing home at that time. She made her Final Profession of Vows at the Motherhouse on March 7, 1960. In 1961, Sister Rita was assigned to assist at the Maryknoll Sisters’ Novitiate in Valley Park, MO, where she was Assistant Superior until 1967. In 1968 she moved to the Maryknoll Sisters Retirement Center in Monrovia, CA where she was house superior until 1971. From there she moved to Duarte, CA joining the Western Region. She attended a refresher course for R.N’s at Los Angeles City College. During 1972-73 she worked at City of Hope Medical Center and with the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) of Pasadena. In 1974 she was assigned to the U.S. Eastern Region and Baltimore, MD where she again worked with the VNA doing outreach into patients’ homes, with therapy and health care for ten years. From 1984 to 1997 she continued to work with Baltimore VNA Hospice Programs and Staff RN Home Care (full time). She was also a volunteer Teacher Aide in Adult Education Program three to six hours a week. When she retired she continued to do volunteer work at the St. Vincent De Paul Soup Kitchen and in Hospice work until 2006.
Sister Rita was assigned to the Maryknoll Sisters’ Center at Ossining, NY in 2007. Due to failing health, she joined the Maryknoll Sisters’ Home Care unit in 2015 where she died on May 28, 2016. Sister Rita donated her body to science.
A Vespers Service will be held on Thursday, June 2th at 4:15 p.m. in the Main Chapel at the Maryknoll Sisters Center. A Memorial Mass will be celebrated on Friday, June 3 at 11:00 A.M. in the main chapel of the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Ossining, N.Y. Interment will follow in the Maryknoll Sisters Cemetery on the Center grounds.