The prayers worked; Sister Daisy’s back in the classroom

Johnston nun and second grade teacher has returned to her St. Rocco School classroom after crosswalk crash


The prayers worked.

Sister Daisy’s still healing but she’s back in her St. Rocco School classroom.

“It’s a miracle,” said the nun and second-grade teacher.

On Nov. 7, Sister Daisy Kollamparampil was seriously injured in the Atwood Avenue crosswalk outside the school. A driver failed to stop, rear-ending another driver and pushing that vehicle into the crosswalk where it struck Sr. Daisy, sending her to the hospital.

“It is,” agreed St. Rocco School Principal Regina M. Hand. “It really is a miracle.”

Sr. Daisy returned to the classroom on Jan. 10.

“And everybody’s prayers helped,” she said in the hallway outside her classroom. Her students sat quietly, dressed for Career Day. One boy wore a construction helmet, another wore a police uniform, and a third donned a Celtics basketball jersey.

Sr. Daisy approached a little girl who was dressed in a sweater; there was an apple on her desk.

From the back of the room, St. Rocco’s principal looked toward her recuperating teacher.

“She looks great,” Hand said. “That’s what everybody keeps saying.”

On the classroom wall hangs a long banner signed by all her students and declaring “Welcome Back Sr. Daisy!”

“I’m not 100% healed,” said the nun at the head of the class. “I act like it.”

The accident that took Sr. Daisy off the job for two months drew attention to the St. Rocco crosswalk, from the church to the convent parking lot across Atwood Avenue (Route 5), which is a state road.

Police pledged increased enforcement in the area. The state Department of Transportation (DOT) promised they would try to expedite the permitting process for a blinking pedestrian signal.

On Monday, the usual small florescent sign was standing askew, near the center of the intersection. Still no flashing signal.

“Based on the current schedule, we expect to have the flashing signal installed and operating by the end of the fall,” according to DOT’s Chief of Public Affairs Charles St. Martin.

But Sr. Daisy’s not angry at the distracted driver who caused her injuries, or the bureaucratic red tape holding up the pedestrian warning signal that was approved (but never installed) long before the crash.

“I’m not mad, I am concerned … I am really concerned,” she said Monday morning. “I was in the right place … but I have to say that the community came together, my St. Rocco School family and parish came together, they prayed; they supported me all the way until now.”

Outpouring of support

“You’ve never seen so many cards in your life,” Hand said.

Later that day, Sr. Daisy shared a few images from her card collection. Each one promised prayers.

“You couldn’t be in better hands,” reads one message. “Lifting you up in prayer!”

Another, possibly Sr. Daisy’s favorite, promised someone’s taking really good care of you.” The card named  God “the great Physician — the One who made you and knows how to mend you. His healing touch restores body, soul and spirit. His schedule is never too full … His diagnosis is always accurate … His treatment is wise and gentle … and His results — amazing!”

According to Hand and St. Rocco’s second-grade students, that was especially true in Sr. Daisy’s case.

“The community, people I don’t even know, they heard it from the news and everything,” Sr. Daisy said. She smiled wide as she thought about the deluge of support she received from the community.

“Mass was offered for me,” Sr. Daisy recalled. “Prayers. Flowers. (It was) good seeing how people care for others.”

The call went out and the community heard it. Prayers were requested and received and Sr. Daisy’s convinced it made all the difference.

“Everybody stopped at least one second to say a prayer,” she said. “So this brought, I think, many people closer to God — at least for that moment. Because prayer is so important … we need to pray always. It’s a weapon.”

Sr. Daisy, 55 at the time of the crash, has been now been teaching at St. Rocco for 10 years; her order, the Daughters of the Lady of the Garden.

“This accident also caused international prayer,” she said, her classroom behind her, full of soft laughter and curious whispers. “In Africa, India, all over the world … (people were) praying for me. My family — my sisters. I did experience that power of prayer.”

Sr. Daisy quoted Mother Teresa.

“A family that prays together stays together,” she said, returning to her classroom. A couple hands were in the air, waiting.


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