Brother Thomas (Tom) Nabity (1931 - 2010)

Monday, May 10, 2010 - 4:00pm
Category: Monastery News

Brother Thomas Nabity, 79, died in the monastery infirmary on Monday, May 10, 2010, after a short illness. The burial service took place at the celebration of the Mass of Christian Burial on Friday, May 14, 2010, at 7:00 a.m. in the Abbey Church. Brother Tom was born April 12, 1931, in Central City, Nebraska, in the diocese of Omaha. His parents were Anton M. Nabity and Mayme B. Polansky-Nabity, and he had nine siblings.

Brother Tom entered the Monastery of the Holy Spirit on September 11, 1947, at age 16. At the time, the monastery allowed teens to enter with parental consent. He made his solemn monastic vows on November 6, 1952. During construction of the permanent monastery in the 1950s, Brother Tom did the set-up of equipment for concrete pours. He later managed the beef cattle farm, planted and harvested pecan trees, and did the repairs on the monastery vehicles.

In his later years, he enjoyed making rosaries for the Abbey Store, with even more joy giving them as gifts. Brother Tom was fondly known as the Rosary Maker. Brother Thomas is survived by a sister Kathy Nabity-Douglas of Grand Island, NE, brothers Francis and John of Phoenix, AZ, and Albert of Omaha, NE.

Remembering Brother Tom
By Brother Mark Dohle
May 10, 2010

I am not sure it ever really gets easy taking care of those who are seriously ill and could be dying. I say could be, because you never really know, for I have seen some pretty amazing rallies that have brought some from the brink of death and they have lived for another few good years. Tom himself has had over the past decade a couple of close calls. Around 2002 he was in a hospital in Villa Rica having his legs taken care of. While there he had a cerebral hemorrhage and the doctors told us he had 24 hours to live. So we brought him home to die; well he recovered. Then in 2004 he had a grand mall seizure, which seemed to be fatal, but again, he recovered and was able to come home from the hospital. So now, he is ill again, but this time it seems to be it for him.... though again he may prove me false.

On Monday he started to become ill, he seemed to be coming down with a respiratory illness and Rose our well trained and dedicated nurse called our doctor and got him on a Z-pack. Then we moved on to intravenous antibiotics soon after. The first night I worked the graveyard shift he became very agitated and we began to give him meds that would help to calm him down and help to regulate his breathing. Rose put him also on an IV with a very slow saline drip, since we did not know how well his kidneys were working. As the days went by the antibiotics did not seem to be helping all that much, though we are continuing to use them. This evening he started to have sounds that seemed to be a sign that his lungs were filling with fluids. I called Rose and she told me to stop the IV and she will check him as soon as she comes in the morning. So as often happens it is a waiting game, and about all that can be done is to try to keep Tom as comfortable as possible. In the mean time his body is fighting to survive. On Friday night he became lucid long enough to ask me if he was dying. I told him I don't know, but he could be. He seemed to accept that peacefully and then went back to sleep.

I have known Tom for a very long time, for 42 years. I first met him in 1968 when I came here while I was in the Navy. I came in November, just before Thanksgiving. My first impression when I first saw him was one of caution. He seemed to be angry all the time and had a rough way about him. However after I got to know him I began to see another side under his rough and ready exterior. Like most of us he could be an enigma, but one well worth getting to know. Beneath the mask was a very gentle and loving man and he has a lot of friends to prove that. All of his friends have seen both sides of his personality and most have come to identify with his more gentle and loving side. A good number of people are aquatinted with their own fears and how anger can be used as a self protection from further pain and hurt.

One of his pass times was in the making of cord rosaries which he gave away for free and sold some in our book store. He also made wire rosaries with assorted kinds of beautiful beads and he would spend hour's everyday making them. He also loved saying the rosary and a group still meets in his room every night at 7 PM to pray it with him.

So now he could be walking his last mile. His sister-in-law, Bernadette is keeping in touch with me by phone on his progress and then passing it on to the family. She is a very gentle lady and is married to Tom's brother Francis, who is of course very worried about Tom.

So now like much of life it is a waiting game. All that can be done is to watch and pray with him and give comfort the best that can be given. There is really not much that can be done when someone is dying, so what we can do should be done with thoughtfulness and gentleness and love.

Tom died peacefully at about 5 AM this morning, may he rest in peace.