sister david joseph migliarini
February 10, 1921 – May 6, 2008
S. David Joseph was born in Negaunee, Mich., on February 10, 1921. Her father Ambrose and mother, Ida Terzaghi Migliarini, were very happy when God blessed them with twins a second time. Unfortunately her twin brother did not live a long life. Neither did her twin sisters who had been born before her. This newest daughter was taken to St. Paul’s Church and baptized Angela Amelia. Her parents prayed that this child would be blessed with good health and a long life.
As devoted Catholics her parents welcomed Angela’s call to religious life. She entered the community on September 15, 1938, a very mature 17 year old, and received the habit and name S. David Joseph the following March.
In 1941, S. David Joseph began teaching primary grades at various schools in St. Louis and Kansas City, Mo.; Chicago, Ill.; Marquette, Mich.; Denver, Colo.; and Waco, Texas. As a teacher she was able to nurture in the children a deep love of God and the ability to discipline themselves. Students learned very early on that “when a task was once begun, never leave it till it’s done; be the labor great or small, do it well or not at all.” S. David Joseph received her bachelor’s degree in education from Fontbonne College in 1955.
Not only was she a perfectionist in the classroom, she held herself to high standards in whatever she undertook and expected the same from her co-workers. At the same time, though, she had a soft spot in her heart for those around her. While she challenged, she also helped. When she spoke with authority, she meant business.
From 1985 until July 1997 S. David Joseph was a prominent fixture in the Development Office at Carondelet. Her gracious hospitality welcomed all who entered and her steadfastness behind the scenes made her a valuable co-worker. She sent out each month literally hundreds of cards commemorating the anniversary of deaths of family members and loved ones. She addressed each one by hand and maintained a file to assure timely delivery, taking meticulous care to keep lists accurate and up to date. She ordered supplies and put them in the proper place. She stuffed envelopes. No matter how small the task, she knew everything she did was absolutely essential for the development office to function smoothly.
Not one to be out front, she could be found in the kitchen doing the dishes when the development office sponsored a special dinner. She did the “lion’s share” of the cleanup—unseen and unsung. The highlight of her working there occurred when the development office sponsored a trip to Alaska in 1996. She loved this adventure and left behind a four page account of all the beautiful things she saw and the wonderful time she had in exploring this “last frontier” state.
When she went to Nazareth in 1997 it didn’t take her long to volunteer for various office duties. She worked for the activities department, the social services department and the community life department. She would go in an office, pick up the work and disappear. She’d return with the work organized and placed it into the proper file.
Prayer was important to her. She promised to pray especially for the success of the development office. She also prayed for her cousins who were so close to her because she grew up alone. She would talk of her cousin Monsignor David Spelgatti who lived in Big Bay, Mich. They were very close and talked on the phone regularly until his death a few years ago. Her cousin Rita would call and check on her too.
In April when it was apparent that she could no longer care for herself in Gleason Hall, she agreed it would be better for her to move into the skilled facility. She knew she was becoming ever more ill, and at the end when she had particular difficulty swallowing, she tried her best to cooperate with the nurses. She was a faithful daughter of St. Joseph and was blessed with a happy death. Now she is enjoying her eternal reward… before she starts reorganizing heaven. May she rest in peace.
By S. Kathleen Karbowski