Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sr. Nora Brick is an institution in the Bradenton community

 Sr. Nora Brick was honored last month for her work with Project Light, which provides educational and other services to members of the local immigrant community. (Bradenton Herald photo)

The Bradenton Herald usually doesn't publish the names of crime victims, except for those who are the victims of homicide or who are otherwise newsworthy enough for us to make an exception. After all, it's not like most victims did something deliberately to get their name into the paper or on Bradenton.com.

Even though most police reports include the names of victims, we grant most of them a protection of anonymity.

We made an exception this morning for Sr. Nora Brick, who Monday evening was attacked and seriously beaten by a man she had let into her home on 14th Street West in Bradenton for a drink of water. She knew the man -- Eliseo Ortiz, 51 -- and was able to identify him as her attacker, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.

The sheriff's office this morning put out a lookout for Ortiz.


Brick, an 81-year-old Franciscan nun, is an institution in the community for her work with immigrants and other less fortunate residents. Her Stillpoint House of Prayer provides utility payment and other assistance to the needy, and just last month she was honored for her work with Project Light, which provides educational and other services for immigrants. Each year, she collects shoes for immigrant children about to go back to school.

Reporter/columnist Vin Mannix -- who is reporting on the attack on Brick and the reaction of those who know her and the suspect for Bradenton.com and Thursday's Bradenton Herald --  wrote this about Brick in a story just last month:
BRADENTON -- It’s tough to say no to Sister Nora Brick.

Luz Corcuera found that 10 years ago when she met the persuasive Franciscan nun from Ireland’s County Kerry.

It was at Project Light Literacy Center, which Brick founded in 1995 in a humble storefront on 14th Street West to teach English to migrants.

Corcuera, now president of its board of directors, chuckled at the memory after they honored Brick Tuesday.

“You know how it goes,” said the program director for Healthy Start of Manatee County. “Sister Nora tells you, ‘My dear, could you give me a hand with this ...’ and then you can never get away from her."

Ann Griffin, who, along with husband Ed, helped Brick start Project Light agreed.

“You cannot say no, nor do you want to,” the board member said.

“You want to emulate her,” said Monica Hubbard, a longtime Project Light teacher.

A nun for 64 years, Brick was honored at the Project Light’s annual board meeting for being the founder and for her devotion to immigrants, no matter their race, since she came to Manatee County in 1989.

“It’s a holy and wholesome effort,” the 81-year-old native of Tralee told her supporters. “You take on this wonderful, wonderful work to help people to get out from under abuse and become fully human. Education is the key.”
Clearly, Brick is a giant in the community, so we decided it was important enough to report what had happened to her.

-- Marc R. Masferrer, metro editor.

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