Daisy Doronila was the youngest of five sisters born in Manila. She came from humble beginnings, said her daughter, Denise Rendor. Nursing was a way to rise above her circumstances. She ended up loving it.

Doronila worked as a nurse in Abu Dhabi for a few years before coming to the United States, where she had always dreamed of living. Her first jobs were in California, at a medical center serving mostly the poor in South Los Angeles and at a juvenile detention facility. When she accepted a job 20 years ago at the Hudson County Correctional Center in New Jersey, many of her friends were puzzled. A veteran nurse, she had many other offers to work in less intense settings, but Rendor said her mom felt moved to work at the correctional facility.

“She wanted to take care of vulnerable people. She felt like someone needed to be there,” Rendor said. “This was a serious calling for her, and she made a lot of sacrifices to be there.”

Rendor said her parents split up when she was young, and she was raised by her mother in New Jersey. Her mother was her best friend, Rendor said. And when Doronila turned 60 recently, the two began talking about what life would be like in five years when she retired: “She had worked so hard for so long. She was looking forward to me transitioning into being a wife and a mother and her being a grandma and owning a house in New Jersey.”

A Catholic, Doronila was active in her church and known there for her love of dancing.

This spring, Doronila was excited to travel with church friends to Israel and picked up extra shifts at the correctional facility so she would have pocket money for her travels. The trip was canceled amid concerns about the coronavirus — on the same day Doronila fell ill with covid-19, the disease caused by the virus. She was in a hospital intensive care unit for 14 days and died April 5.

Nearly 800 people in the United States and the Philippines watched her memorial service streamed on YouTube.

“It’s so symbolic, my mom planning a trip to Israel at the very end of her life. My mom did make it to Jerusalem somehow,” Rendor said.

The Hudson correctional facility is the center of one of the largest outbreaks on the East Coast with dozens of inmates, federal immigration detainees and staff members infected. But Rendor said she tries not to look at her mother as being a victim.

“She took her oath as a nurse with pride and honor,” Rendor said in her eulogy. “And understood the commitment to her oath.”