May Barisone is an Associate with the Presentation Sisters, San Francisco. She was recently asked to share the story of how the Sisters have influenced her life and what being an Associate means to her.
“My first memory of the Sisters of the Presentation was September of 1960 when I started first grade at the School of the Epiphany. There I met Sister Michele O’Connell, Sr. Michaeline O’Connor, Sr. Constance Madden and Sr. Helen Matosich with Sr. Kathleen Griffin as principal. Wonderful women and teachers.
“After Epiphany I followed my closest friends to Presentation High School where we had an absolute blast. We are still very close and dear friends. Srs. Rosina, Joan, Georgina, Sylvia Hamilton and both Virginia’s were all a big part of my years at Pres.
“I mention all these women because they all taught me what it means to be Presentation women. They all had a part in shaping the person I am today. They taught me so much more than academics and I want to be sure that they know what an impact they had on their students. I was first taught how to say non vox sed votum (Not Words But Deeds) at a very young age and later taught how to live it.
“In 1988 I met Sr. Rita Jovick while working on an Epiphany Reunion. Rita invited me to explore Association and I joined the program in 1994.
“Over the past 27 years I have been involved in many Associate activities. My biggest gift from Association is the dear and wonderful women with whom I have journeyed. I served on the Associate Team, co-chaired Associate Picnic with my dear friend Pilar Delfino and later with Loretta Nekota. I’ve helped with hospitality and attended as many functions as possible. I am now following in Earlene Dutton’s footsteps as The Sunshine Girl, sending cards to sisters and Associates on their birthdays and am part of the Companion and Profiles Committees.
“If you were to ask me what my ministry is I think I would have to say hospitality. I try my best to follow in Nano’s footsteps by being aware of the needs around me and doing what I can to fill them. This is in my everyday life. If a friend or neighbor needs a hand, I do whatever it takes to help them. If I make a dessert, I make extra for an elderly neighbor. When the bad weather means we lose power, I check on the neighbors. I call friends who live in remote areas to see if they are okay. I send a handwritten note to someone who is having a hard time. I smile and say hello to someone who is looking sad. Actually, I say hello to everyone I pass. I share information about Presentation ministries with friends. I am passing on my awareness. I love a positive trickle effect!
“The most important thing I have learned from being a Presentation person is to be aware of everything around me, people, nature, the needs of others. Awareness opens my eyes and heart to what is needed and to how much there is to be grateful for.”