Consuela (Connie) Niedbala Pujol, Associate

Connie Pujol

Consuela (Connie ) Pujol, the elder of two daughters born to John and Clara Niedbala, was born in Chicago, Illinois, on January 11, 1935. Connie spent her childhood and most of her adult life in Chicago. Her family was a major part of her life. She mentioned that in growing up, she felt fortunate to have had both sets of grandparents in her life. Her mother, Clara, age 95, and her sister, Sharon, still live in Chicago. She married there, raised her two daughters, Annette Steinbraker and Jackie Felix, and her son, John Pujol, there. While living in the area she worked in banking and performed factory work.

In 1982, Connie moved to the Phoenix area. At this time she went back to school and studied to help further her job opportunities. Although Connie supported herself by doing accounting and payroll work, she was also active in her church community. She belonged to Resurrection Catholic Church in Tempe. In her autobiography, Connie stated that “God is very important in my life. We are his hands and feet, that is why I volunteer.”

And volunteer she did. She served as an usher, in the church choir, as a hospital visitor, a secretary for RCIA and was responsible for the funeral luncheon donations. Through the guidance of Patricia Schade, OP, Connie chose to look into Association with the Adrian Dominican Sisters. She went through a study and prayer process with Sister Pat as her mentor and became an Adrian Dominican Associate on December 11, 2005. In her annual report concerning her ministry for the 2005-2006 year, Connie mentioned that she hoped in this new year to meet new people and form new bonds, attend prayer gatherings with the other Associates, and take life day by day. These aspirations say so much of who Connie was as a person.

What comes to mind now is the phrase “by their fruits you will know them.” Several people readily gave testimony as to who Connie was. Her daughter Jackie said:

“My mother represented unconditional love to me. She was incredibly humble and was dedicated to ministry, saying that it was all about being of service.”

The receptionist at Resurrection Church said:

Connie was very dependable, courteous and very willing.” She followed this up with a list of all the ministries that Connie had in the parish.

Jeannine Therese McGorray, OP, stated:

I will miss Connie taking care of me … Connie always made sure that the sisters were taken care of.”

Her friend, Rosemary Altimus, another Associate, spoke about Connie’s spirituality.

“She never missed a prayer meeting and always felt compelled to help meet any expense. I never heard her say a bad word about anybody.”

Judy Sender, the Representative for the Associates in the Phoenix area, recalled that “… upon meeting Connie for the first time she was impressed with how supportive and kind Connie was.”

As the comments kept flowing from people, it was not difficult to see the impact that Connie had on the lives of all those in her life. Dolores Slosar, OP, said:

“I found Connie to be a very positive, happy person. Connie told me that she joined the Dominican family for the three “Ps” … play, party and prayer. Connie did all three very well.”

Connie passed away on September 2, 2006. Connie’s family and friends celebrated her life at a memorial service on September 9, 2006, at Resurrection Catholic Church in Tempe, Arizona. When Connie passed away she was on her way to Mass. Her family and friends are sure that God met her half-way. May she rest in peace.