Mrs. Sullivan lived the words of St. Paul, “I have become all things to all people that I might by all means save some” (I Corinthians 9:22b). She was not only an advocate for her community’s underserved, she was also a champion of social justice as demonstrated through her many life roles. As wife, mother, missionary, author, nurse for the Kansas City urban population, and above all, servant to God, she sought to meet His callings with humility, dedication and love. This devotion to others was expressed most vividly in her relationships with her husband, children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and her family in the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT).
Affectionately known as “Nikki,” Nicolina Sullivan was born Nov. 15, 1925, in Springfield, Mass. to WWI veteran Carmine Capuano and his wife Annina. She graduated from nursing college in 1947 and married decorated WWII veteran Dr. George E. Sullivan in 1948.
In 1962, George and Nikki left their suburban lives and George’s optometric practice in Massachusetts to pursue their calling to serve as one of the first lay missionary families in SOLT in New Mexico. After a few years, Nikki and George moved to Kansas City, Missouri with the SOLT community to work in areas of deepest apostolic need. To this end Nikki and George assisted the African American community in the civil rights movement of the 1960’s. SOLT founder Father James Flanagan and then Diocesan Bishop Helmsing had a goal to fully unite the races in the Kansas City community. Answering this call, Nikki and George fully integrated their professional lives as nurse and optometrist and their family into the local African American community to perform apostolic works.
As a lay member of SOLT, Nikki worked with ecclesial teams to serve in areas of deepest apostolic need, a practice that began in SOLT’s foundational years and extended until her death. In the SOLT community she was known not only as a faithful servant of God, but for her gift of hospitality and intercessory prayer. Inspired by the life of Jesus’ mother Mary, in widowhood, Nikki consecrated her life to Jesus and organized other widows to serve Christ through a life of charitable works.
She was an avid chef, quilter, and author. She shared these gifts through her dinners, classes, books, and storytelling.
She is survived by her children, Daniel (Theresa) Sullivan of Kansas City, David (Cheryl) Sullivan of Lee’s Summit, Anne (Steve) Winn of Kearney, George (Ilona) Sullivan of Kansas City, Mary Sullivan of Seattle, WA, Rosalie Buergler Kansas City, and Edward Sullivan of Atlanta, GA; 21 grandchildren; and 40 great-grandchildren.
Visitation for Nicolina Sullivan will be from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. with the rosary at 7:00 p.m., Monday, November 26, 2018 at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church, 2552 Gillham, Kansas City, MO, 64108. The Mass of the Resurrection will be conducted by Fr. Peter Marsalek at 9:00 a.m. Tuesday, November 27, 2018 at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church, with the burial at Mount Olivet Cemetery, 7601 Blue Ridge Blvd., Raytown, MO, 64138 In lieu of flowers and gifts, a donation may be made to the Lay Association of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Laity, 1200 Lantana Street, Corpus Christi, TX 78407.