WESTBROOK – At different points in her life, Pauline Salvucci was a nun, an English teacher, a family therapist and life coach.
She was a writer and artist, who painted and operated her own jewelry business, Sirona Jewelry Designs.
Ms. Salvucci, who had a chronic illness and had to use a wheelchair, died Wednesday at Maine Medical Center. She was 69.
“Her life was huge,” said Ernestine Montilio, a longtime friend. “Her spirit was huge. She was not closed in, though physically she was in this apartment. She had a rich inner world. She lived a full life and she enjoyed her life for sure.”
Ms. Salvucci, formerly of Weymouth, Mass., was a nun with the Sisters of Divine Providence in Kingston, Mass., who taught English at Sacred Heart High School for 15 years.
Montilio, a former student, said she was an “unbelievable teacher.”
“She was passionate, brilliant and creative. That’s her,” she said.
In 1989, Ms. Salvucci became a licensed psychotherapist and consultant at Cape Family Health Associates. She practiced there for 12 years.
Ms. Salvucci also worked as a therapist in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
Ann Patch of Cape Elizabeth, a former neighbor and retired family therapist, said she loved helping families and cared about the people she served. Ms. Salvucci was an outspoken advocate for disabled people and victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault.
“Pauline was a large woman physically, but she had a spirit that was enormous,” Patch said. “She was a great friend. She was warm and loving. … She was interested and excited about my life. She was a great support to her friends.”
In 2007, Ms. Salvucci started a jewelry business, Sirona Jewelry Designs. She made and sold her jewelry from her apartment in Westbrook.
Four of her friends spent the day there Friday, laughing, crying and sharing memories of her.
Mary Ings, of Orlando, Fla., Ms. Salvucci’s friend for the past 50 years, said Ms. Salvucci enjoyed riding her motorized wheelchair to a nearby barn to feed the horses.
Ings said although they lived far from each other, they always kept in touch. They got together for the past six years or to celebrate their birthdays.
“I’ll miss her presence … that feeling that she is there,” Ings said.
Vicky Patterson, her caretaker for the past two years, talked about her family spending Christmas Eve with Ms. Salvucci. She said they were very close.
“She became a huge part of my life,” Patterson said. “She was like a mother figure in many ways. I loved her, and I know she loved me. My kids thought of her as a grandmother.”
Montilio reminisced about Red Sox games they attended together, and talked about Ms. Salvucci’s final wishes Friday.
One of her requests will come Nov. 19, when her friends and family will gather after her service at Christo’s Restaurant in Brockton, Mass.
“She wanted all her friends and relatives to go to a really good restaurant to have pizza, beer and Italian rum cake,” Montilio said. “She wanted us to have a party and celebrate her life.”
Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at: