When Norma Nickols asked to make a Lasting Covenant as an Associate with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace, she said, “perhaps the greatest gift I can bring is friendship. I pray to bring a listening and caring heart with a measure of joy.” She shared those gifts generously with Sisters and Associates for over 40 years. For fifteen years she was the Office Manager for the CSJP Western Province. After retiring in 1990, Norma continued her connection as an Associate, making a first Covenant in 1992 and a Lasting Covenant in 2013. Through all those years, Norma’s caring heart and the joy that sustained her in the challenges of dealing with physical disability won her the love and admiration of her CSJP community.
Born in 1930 in Selah, Washington, Norma studied music at Central Washington University, where she met her husband, Jack Nickols, in the choir. They had two daughters, Marie and Yvonne, built a house in Bothell, and enjoyed canoeing in the waters of Western Washington. Norma taught school before her daughters were born, and then piano while she raised them. In 1975 she began work with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace and was attracted by the community’s commitment to peace and justice.
Norma had polio as a child and as she experienced the complications of post-polio syndrome, she needed to use a wheelchair. Living out her own commitment to peace and justice, she became an advocate, serving on the Governor’s Commission for People with Disabilities. With her friend Carol Lee Powers, she formed Access for Travel, and worked with the travel and tourism industries to advance practices that made travel easier for people with disabilities.
Norma’s beloved husband Jack died in 2008; she is survived by her sister, Donna, her daughters Marie and Yvonne, and their families.
"So yes, we are forever beginning, and the best we can do is be very grateful that each new beginning is one more chance to grow. "
Margaret Byrne, CSJP