Sister Nancy Nolan (formerly Sister Jean Paula) was born in Galesburg, Illinois on May 13, 1936. She entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Providence February 2, 1955, and pronounced first vows in 1957. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in education from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, a master’s degree in education from the University of Illinois, Urbana, and a master’s degree in pastoral studies from Loyola University in Chicago.
Sister Nancy served as teacher or principal in schools in Indianapolis, Chicago, and Oklahoma City. In 1973 she was elected co-provincial of St. Joseph Province. Following two terms in this position, Sister Nancy spent the 1983-1984 year in Taiwan, serving as administrative assistant in the Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the Conference of Asian Bishops. This was followed by a year as Associate Administrator of St. Ann Parish in Terre Haute. She was elected to a five-year term as general superior on February 26, 1986, and then was re-elected on July 17, 1991 for a second five-year term.
Important events during Sister Nancy Nolan’s administration were: the congregation’s government structure was centralized; Pope John Paul II bestowed on Mother Theodore the title of Venerable; a new postulator, Dr. Andrea Ambrosi, was appointed; Foley Hall was razed and Providence Center was constructed; the congregation celebrated its sesquicentennial year; Lady Isle School in New Hampshire was closed and the property was put up for sale; Casa Providencia, a house of discernment for Hispanic women, was opened.
After completing her second term as general superior, Sister Nancy spent the 1996-1997 year on sabbatical. This was followed by a position as Programs Director at the Institute for Spiritual Leadership in Chicago. In 1999 she accepted the position of president of Mother Theodore Guerin High School in River Grove, Illinois, serving in this capacity until 2009. The following year she gave convent service, after which she was named coordinator of the Vocation Office at the motherhouse.