The Selinskys: Singing & Praising God

Originally published by Decided Excellence Catholic Media in Green Bay Parish Neighbors

Article by Joan Koehne | Photo by Timothy Mayer Artworks

Thirty-five years ago, Nancy and John Selinsky prayed for a miracle. Their son, Nick, was born prematurely at 30 weeks. His lungs hadn’t fully formed, so the doctors didn’t give the family much hope. So, Nancy sought help from the Lord by praying the St. Theresa Novena taught to her by her mother.

“St. Theresa is known for answering prayers with what I call ‘the sign of the rose.’ When St. Theresa intercedes for you, you will see a rose in an unusual place,” Nancy said. This is exactly what happened. As Nancy and John left the hospital and crossed the street, John noticed a small plastic rose with a little rosebud attached.

“There’s your rose,” he said to Nancy.

“I still have it and keep it with Nick’s baptismal gown,” Nancy said. “Within days his lungs improved, and he was out of the hospital in a month.”

Nancy and John belong to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish where they both sing in the adult choir. Their son, Nick, also sings in the choir, and daughter, Chelsea, sang in the choir until conflicts arose with her nursing schedule.

“Music at Mass is very important to me,” Nancy said. “At St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, we’re blessed to have an awesome young lady, Maria Hinnendael, as our choir director, several wonderful pianists, cantors with amazing voices, and choirs that always do a marvelous job helping the congregation praise God.”

In fact, music is what brought the Selinskys into the parish. John’s brother, Ed, was leading the adult choir in 1994, and John and Nancy decided to attend Sunday Mass before a family get-together.

“The music was so awesome that we became members the following week. We’ve been members ever since,” Nancy said. “No matter what Mass you attend, the music is always amazing.”

In addition to participating in music ministry, Nancy volunteers at the Hope Center Food Pantry, collaboratively operated by several West Side parishes, including St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.

“I’m glad we’re able to offer food to people in the area that don’t have the money to shop and buy things the way I wish everyone could,” Nancy said. “It’s eye opening to see the needy people in the Green Bay area.”

John grew up in Green Bay and graduated from Premontre High School, while Nancy grew up in Manitowoc, attended St. Andrew’s through eighth grade and graduated from Roncalli High School. John and Nancy met at a bar called Little Chicago Inn and were married in 1976 at St. Paul’s Church in Manitowoc. Both of their dads worked for the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad.

“From the beginning, it felt like we were meant to be together. And it still feels that way,” Nancy said.

Nancy attended Bellin Hospital School for Laboratory Technique and worked in various medical clinics, most recently a cancer clinic. She retired six years ago. John worked as a service rep for Paper Converting Machine Company in Ashwaubenon. He traveled the world setting up new paper converting machines or repairing old ones.

John and Nancy spend their mornings working out. They like to run, use the elliptical machine, lift weights at the YMCA, or participate in Nancy’s sister’s Zoom exercise class. Nancy also enjoys golfing, reading, attending concerts, cooking, and playing with their grandson, Eli, 3.

“And don’t let me fool you. I also like sitting with my feet up reading the paper and watching TV,” she said.

Nancy is a self-proclaimed cat person, so the family always has a cat. The family’s first and second cats each lived 14 years. They were orange tiger cats, and both were named Herbie.

“Our current cat is also an orange tiger, but female, so no Herbie. Her name is Candy Girl, named after the Four Seasons song,” Nancy said.

The Selinsky family motto is simple – the golden rule. Treat others as you would like them to treat you.

Like all families, the Selinskys have faced their share of challenges in life.

“My faith helps me through all the trials of daily life, from which no one is immune. Whenever I feel like I need help, I say a prayer for direction, and my prayers have never been ignored,” Nancy said.

Like that day 35 years ago, John and Nancy continue to place their trust in the Lord.

“I wonder how we’d make it without our faith in God,” Nancy said.