Nadine Pitney was the spiritual mother of the Rockford Rescue Mission since her start here in 1965. It was out of her prayers as a pastor’s wife, along with a small group of women from her church, that the ministry of the Mission was conceived and born.
Her vision helped establish the Mission’s first residential program for women, which she named Christian Care Center. She served as a key staff member at the Care Center, loving women and their children to wholeness.
Nadine loved both her natural and Mission family and poured her life into all that she did. She was a great role model for hard work, determination and learning to “make do.” She was often found sorting clothes or typing the newsletter until the wee hours of the morning.
Nadine comforted and inspired all who came to her. She was a great encouragement and support. She never complained and always had a spirit of gratitude. She accepted things with grace in a uniquely humble way and had a way of laughing at herself that put everyone at ease. Most of all, she personified selflessness. It was never about her. She treated the person on the street the same way that she treated the millionaire, and displayed respect and dignity for all whom she served.
Nadine suffered with cancer for the past 11 years. While she was sick, she kept her Bible in bed with her. She prayed a lot, and read her Bible with pen in hand, marking as she was impressed. Her favorite verses were Proverbs 3:5-6 and she especially claimed them during her sickness. Today, they are engraved on her tombstone: “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
Nadine won’t be remembered for wearing the latest fashion or stylish hairdo. She won’t be remembered for her designer clothing or jewelry. She will be remembered for her good and beautiful heart. The essence of something is its core, soul or lifeblood. The essence of Nadine was her heart of compassion for the least of these.
“Nadine” is Slavic “Nada” in English form. The name means “HOPE.”
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“The way God works, lots of times you don’t know it at the time. You can’t sit down and say, ‘I’m going to do this for God.’ If you just live your life every day, one step at a time, then He leads you."
“This is our life. Instead of going overseas, the Lord just redirected us. Our call was to missions, but not where we thought it was. We wound up doing exactly what we would have wanted to do on the mission field – work directly with people.”
-- Nadine Pitney, 2003