A Short History Lesson
In the spring of 1954, the Franciscan Sisters of Saint Elizabeth were invited by Monsignor Anthony DeLuca to open a preschool in his parish of Holy Family Church, in Nutley, New Jersey. With the permission of Archbishop Thomas Borland, Archbishop of Newark, the sisters were set up with a small parcel of land with a small house on it. The sisters were given the land and building with the understanding all renovations were their responsibility.
The sisters persevered modernizing the house into a suitable structure to house three beautiful academic classrooms, a coat room, office, kitchen and living quarters for the Sisters, including a chapel for the Sisters. All this was finalized on September 7, 1967.
The first community of Sisters was made up of Superior, Mother Justina Iodice, Sister Cecilia Tozzi, Sister Eileen Woodbury, and Sister Romilda Chiga.
Through the years, the Sisters have dedicated themselves both to the care and education of their small charges as well as being active at Holy Family Church.
Many of the Sisters of the Franciscan Sisters of Saint Elizabeth have served at Holy Family Day Nursery School but the one that served the longest was the beloved Sister Romilda Chiga. Except for brief times of service elsewhere, Sister Romilda faithfully served as school administrator, convent superior and ambassador to the mostly Italian community of the parish of Holy Family Church. She spent most of her religious life serving in Nutely, New Jersey. Sister Romilda faithfully served until her untimely death in August 2018.
Holy Family Day Nursery School continues today to educate children of early childhood ages. Love, respect and care are the basis for the school’s program. The Sisters believe in the theory of blending modern technological tools with good old-fashioned hands-on lessons to assist the children to grow and learn at their own pace to become self-confident, aspiring young students.