Our Founder Sr. Marion Agnes

A Dedicated Servant


Sr. Marion Agnes Daniel, MSBT, is the Founder of Nazareth Housing. A Catholic woman religious in the congregation of the Missionary Servants of the Most Blessed Trinity, Sr. Marion Agnes began her work in New York City in 1979. Her work with the Lower East Side Area Catholic Conference (LESAC) included outreach among, advocacy for and empowerment of the thousands of families and people impacted by the blight of the Lower East Side, East Village and Alphabet City. The most pressing need Sr. Marion Agnes sought to address was the desperate situation of inadequate and unsafe housing. Working with others from LESAC she was involved in many aspects of community renewal for the neighborhoods of Alphabet City including: homesteading of buildings; housing for low income families; furniture and household items for those in need; Tompkins Park renewal, Havens and the Interfaith Housing Coalition. She helped facilitate the rehabilitation of 721 HDFC and the newest brick and mortar project of Nazareth Housing which was named in her honor: Marion Agnes House.

Maintaining a low profile in her work even as her compassion for people helped shape the quality of life in the Lower East Side/Alphabet City, these critical grassroots efforts organized by Sr. Marion Agnes has left a legacy that today is Nazareth Housing. Known by many long time residents and community activists of Alphabet City and the Lower East Side, Sr. Marion Agnes has always extended herself in service to anyone in need who sought her help. Sr. Marion Agnes is well loved and admired as a religious sister, community advocate and doer of good for those most in need.

Sr. Marion Agnes retired from the many activities associated with Nazareth Housing on June 30, 2008. The Board of Directors honored Sr. Marion Agnes with a special dinner on June 14th. A public celebration of Sister Marion Agnes’ decades of service was held at Nazareth Housing’s Center for Learning And Self-Sufficiency where an overflow crowd of friends and colleagues gathered to celebrate her years of success and service on Friday, June 18. Sr. Marion Agnes was honored with the Legacy Award for outstanding and exemplary service and commitment to the mission of Nazareth Housing at the Annual Benefit marking Nazareth Housing’s twenty-fifth anniversary year on October 29, 2008. View our Legacy Award poster from our Benefit evening.

Sr. Marion Agnes never turned away someone in need. She set a standard for all of us to look for the best in the other and to find joy in the work we do, even on the most difficult days. She was feisty, determined and was well known for her Yankee sensibility, especially when confronted by bureaucracy and indecision. Each year she loved to take her retreat to her family’s cabin in Cape Cod where she was refreshed by her connection with her family’s heritage.

Sr. Marion Agnes died in the care of her sisters on October 27th, 2014. Our deepest sympathies to her sisters in the MSBT community and to her extended family. She will be missed as her legacy lives on.

Maybe it was her faith or her personality or both. But Sister Marion, as we called her, treated every person she came across the same way, with dignity and respect. It didn’t matter what good, bad, or important thing that person had done before meeting her, she assumed the best and, perhaps as a result, often brought out the best. She inspired many people associated with Nazareth Housing and elsewhere. She certainly inspired me. Mary Beth Hogan, Board President
I have never met her, but I have heard about her vision, her compassion, and her courageous action on behalf of families struggling with poverty and homelessness in New York City. Sr. Marion Agnes has truly been a woman who has made a difference in the lives of so many of the most vulnerable among us.Sr. Irene Ellis, O.P.
A good and faithful servant will now rest in God. How blessed we were to have known her. May she rest in peace.Monica Alvarez
In the mid-1990’s, Sr. Marion Agnes invited the Newman Club at NYU to help out with the Nazareth Housing Christmas Party. It was a wonderful experience for us for many years. Sister was an amazing woman who has left a tremendous legacy. Thanks be to God for her long life.Paul Snatchko
I loved Sister Marion Agnes, and I think she was enormously effective in the work of providing decent low-rent housing for those in need. We worked together for mre than 20 years on the Lower East Side and I miss her every day since she left.Frances Goldin