"The greater the work the more
important it is to establish it on
a solid foundation. Thus it will
not only be more perfect; it
will also be more lasting.”

St. Louise de Marillac

“Be diligent in serving
the poor. Love the poor,
honor them, my children,
as you would honor
Christ Himself.”

St. Louise de Marillac

 

Remembering S. Marilyn Joseph Czarnecki

Sister Joseph Czarnecki died Oct. 23, 2022 at the age of  87 in Mother Margaret Hall, the nursing facility for the Sisters of Charity, Cincinnati, Ohio. Sister Marilyn Joseph was born on Sept. 9, 1935 to Joseph and Cecilia (Norkanicez) Czarnecki in Jackson, Michigan. She was the youngest of five children, four girls and one boy. She was a Sister of Charity for 69 years.

Sister Marilyn Joseph grew up in Jackson attending St. Mary grade school and graduating from St. Mary High School. She entered the Sisters of Charity in September 1953 after working in a business setting for several years. She said she felt called to religious life for its challenge, friendship and love.

Sister Marilyn Joseph earned the Bachelor of Science in education from the College of Mount St. Joseph in 1964 and a master’s in education from Xavier University, Cincinnati, in 1973.   

Sister Marilyn Joseph’s ministries spanned more than 46 years in education in the states of Michigan, Maryland and Ohio. She gave nine years to early learning, 21 as an elementary administrator and 16 as a primary classroom teacher. She began her years of ministry at the Shrine of the Little Flower, Royal Oak, Michigan, in 1956 as a primary teacher and returned there from 1959-’60. She served at Queen of Martyrs, Birmingham, Michigan (1957-’59). In 1960 she came to Corpus Christi, Dayton, Ohio (1960-62); next it was to St. John the Baptist, Chillum, Maryland (1962-’66) followed by St. Savior, Cincinnati (1966-’72) where she began an ungraded program for the youngest students in the school.

The year 1972 brought a change in Sister Marilyn Joseph’s ministry, moving to the College of Mount St. Joseph and beginning an Early Childhood Learning Center, serving as the director. She remained there for nine years as a professor of education and directing the lab school where college students could gain valuable teaching experience without having to travel great distances from the college; they served students from pre-school through eighth grade which was housed in Seton Hall on the Motherhouse campus. In 1981 she accepted a position as school principal at Queen of the Miraculous Medal, Jackson, Michigan. It was like coming home again! She remained there until 1986 when she answered a call to come to St. Joseph School, Howell, Michigan, as their principal; she served there until 2004 when she chose to step back, offering her services as a substitute teacher for the Catholic schools in the area, a role she loved. It kept her in touch with the children and learning.

As an administrator Sister Marilyn Joseph offered her creative talents, but was quick to credit her support staff for the school’s accomplishments. She stated, “As principal I have been blessed with terrific pastors, a tremendous caring staff, wonderful parents and loving, talented children.” She stressed the importance of the arts in education including theater and music. She put an emphasis on the need for a growing awareness of concern for others and the religious impact children can have on other persons. Sister Marilyn’s greatest joy was in seeing people do their very best whether they are children, parents or staff. 

For her retirement years Sister Marilyn Joseph continued to serve as a substitute teacher when called upon by the area Catholic schools, and she appreciated the opportunities to enjoy enrichment programs and lectures offered to adult learners through the University of Notre Dame. She also responded to a request to write curriculum for a hospital school in the Detroit area; her gifts continued to be given for the good of others. Sister Marilyn Joseph came to live at Mother Margaret Hall nursing facility earlier in 2022 as her health declined.

Friend Sister Shirley Dix remembers Sister Marilyn as a very kind person who loved Notre Dame. She cared for nature and loved feeding the birds. “She was a giving person,” she said. 

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