Author Archives: Sr. Marilyn Marie

Freeing Those in Captivity

February 4th, 2013 | Posted by Sr. Marilyn Marie in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Today’s reading from Mark’s Gospel relates the story of Jesus calling the evil spirit out of a man in the Gerasene territory.  I think most of us think of this story as the one in which the pigs were drowned in the lake!  Hopefully, we don’t miss the bigger message.

The man in the Gospel is just one example of someone held captive, in this case by a “legion” of evil spirits.  I couldn’t help but think of the many others in our world who are held captive.  Especially forefront in my mind today is the little five year old boy being held hostage in Alabama and the many individuals who were likely victims of trafficking during the Super Bowl festivities this past weekend. There are also those held captive by addictions of various sorts.

At another point in the Gospel, Jesus reminds us that he was sent “to proclaim liberty to captives.”  As one of his followers, I can do no less.  It may mean actively working for legislation against human trafficking or praying for all victims or freeing someone from my judgments and biases against them.

Who is the captive I will free today?


Perpetual Vows

February 2nd, 2013 | Posted by Sr. Marilyn Marie in Uncategorized - (5 Comments)

Today, Sister Jennifer Marie begins her intense preparation for perpetual vows in July, 2013.  As a province, we are so excited to share this time of renewal with Sister!

During these next months, Sister Jennifer will be deepening her understanding of the Constitutions of our community as well as other congregational writings, but her primary focus will be to fall more deeply in love with Jesus.  What a wonderful time to consider yet again what a tremendous blessing a call to the religious life can be.

Please keep Sister Jennifer in your prayers as she moves through these months to the day of her perpetual profession on July 14!

Celebrate Life!

January 22nd, 2013 | Posted by Sr. Marilyn Marie in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Today as we commemorate the 40th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, I’m reminded of the many people in our country and world who work and pray to withhold the value of life.

Three of our Sisters (Sister Mary Jo Szpila, Sister Linda Maria Pelagio and Sister Jan Marie Lonsway) minister at Path to Life Hope Home here in Toledo.  Their mission is clear:

Path to Life is an interfaith, life-affirming non-profit organization.

Believing in the sanctity and dignity of each human life, from conception to natural death, our mission is to provide alternatives that protect the inherent right to life of the unborn and empower single pregnant women who lack the resources and support to cope with their unexpected pregnancies.It is our goal to provide a safe and nurturing environment that is non-judgmental and emotionally and spiritually supportive for pregnant women in need.

Our maternity housing is a great option for expectant mothers ages 18 and over who wish to make a decision regarding their future as well as the future of their unborn child, without the pressure that can come from friends and family who may not be supportive.

I am so proud of our Sisters and the many volunteers and donors who support this much needed ministry.  Their efforts help to make it possible for women to choose to support life rather than end it.

Check out their new electronic newsletter at  to read more about this ministry. 

Miraculous Ordinary Days

January 14th, 2013 | Posted by Sr. Marilyn Marie in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

As we begin “Ordinary Time” in the Church year today, I’m reminded of a question one of the sixth grade students at Maumee, St. Joseph asked last week of four of us on a vocation panel: “Have you ever experienced any miracles?”  Each of us responded by talking about the miracle of each day of our lives – the care of our loving God, the amazing relationships we’ve witnessed in others, and most especially the Eucharist.

There are so many miracles surrounding us if we only open our eyes and hearts and take them in.  Considering the awesome and unbelievable love our God has  for us, I’m not sure it’s possible to actually have an “ordinary” day!  Our faith draws us into a world filled with daily miracles.

What miracle have you experienced in the last 24 hours?

A Double-header

January 10th, 2013 | Posted by Sr. Marilyn Marie in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Yesterday we celebrated the birthday of our foundress, Sister Maria Aloysia, and today we celebrate the birthday of our co-foundress, Sister Maria Ignatia.  These two women are amazing examples of all that God can do in and through the lives of people who live with an open heart.  Responding to the needs of poor and neglected children and infirm elderly in the 1850’s, they planted the seeds of a congregation that has grown to nearly 2300 Sisters in countries around the world. Little did Sister Maria Aloysia know when she shared a sandwich with a hungry student that God would use her to proclaim His goodness and loving care to the world!

I’m so grateful and proud to be part of this wonderful community!  If you or someone you know is experiencing God tugging at your heart, don’t hesitate to contact us. I can guarantee you that if this is where God is calling you, we have a place for you in this adventure of making the world a better place. Learn more about our international congregation at and our Toledo province at  .

…And join us in celebrating life today!

Education – Influencing Desires

January 4th, 2013 | Posted by Sr. Marilyn Marie in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

As we celebrate today the feast of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, many thoughts come to mind.  I often think of St. Elizabeth in terms of beginning the Catholic School system in our country, and rightly so, but something different strikes me today. As I read a little about her life this morning, I was struck by the profound impact her friends had on her.  After the death of her husband, it was the care and concern of her friends in Italy who led her to embrace the Catholic faith.  Something about the way they lived drew her to desire such active faith in her own life.

Upon further reflection, perhaps this is what education is all about. We work with individuals to help them grow in their desire to be their best selves. When I think about the educators in my own life who had the most influence on me, it was those who influenced my desires and set me on a path of discovering those desires.  Some of this happened in a formal classroom setting and some happened in the “classroom of life.”

Who are the educators in your life who have influenced your desires, calling forth the very best in you?


January 3rd, 2013 | Posted by Sr. Marilyn Marie in Uncategorized - (6 Comments)

Wow!  This is what I find myself saying today as we celebrate with our dear Sister Mary Clarone her 80th jubilee of profession.  That’s right, I said 80!  Eighty years of commitment to a vocation as a Sister of Notre Dame!  Wow!

Sister Mary Clarone has done some pretty amazing things over these 80 years, but I am most grateful for her generous and faithful response to a call that God planted deep in her heart so many years ago.  Our celebration today is more about who she is and who God is than what she has done.  She lives so well our charism of a deep experience of God’s goodness and provident care.  She could not have known 80 years ago where her response would take her, but she did know and trust that God would be with her every step of the way.

So, today we celebrate with you, Sister Mary Clarone and rejoice in your life that proclaims “God is good. God is very, very good!”

A Light in the Darkness

December 29th, 2012 | Posted by Sr. Marilyn Marie in Uncategorized - (1 Comments)

What an amazing combination of life and death this week has been!  Once again this year, I find myself a bit jarred by the contrasting feasts of the Church.  It seems we just begin to celebrate the mystery of Christ’s birth and we’re abruptly drawn into the feasts of Stephen, the Holy Innocents and Thomas Becket.  A part of me is crying, “Just let me enjoy the peace and joy of Christmas!”

Reflecting on this reality this morning, I am reminded of a basic art principle I learned in my early days of teaching:  the darker the color of a bulletin board’s background, the more brilliant the colors of the letters and pictures appeared. I quickly learned that the most vibrant bulletin boards often had a black background! 

Perhaps it takes these feasts of the Church that highlight death and sacrifice to help me truly see the gift of life and appreciate its radiant beauty.  Joy that comes easily doesn’t seem to hold the same depth and meaning as that which comes at a price.  Sometimes it just takes a while for me to appreciate the darkness that serves to highlight the light!

A little child will lead them

December 17th, 2012 | Posted by Sr. Marilyn Marie in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Some events make the headlines on a given day and then are quickly forgotten: others become a part of the fabric of who we are as individuals and as a nation. The tragedy in Connecticut on Friday is one of the latter: we cannot simply turn away and forget what happened.

We certainly hold in our hearts and in our prayers the families of those who lost their lives. We pray for those who lived through this horrendous experience and will carry it with them always. We pray in gratitude for those who reach out and help in any way they can, especially by their quiet presence.

The senseless violence of this event pains me and makes me question how it will change me. Will I stop at condemning the violence perpetrated by another, or will I ask myself how my own acts of violence have contributed to a world in which such a thing could happen?  I may not pick up a weapon and physically take the life of another, but the violence of my words and actions may rob another of life. I’m guilty as well at times of failing to reach out and support another and thus nurture life within them.

In this season of Advent/Christmas when we focus on the gift of life, I want to be part of the solution in creating a world of peace.

“The the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; the calf and the young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them” (Is. 11: 6).

Lighten up!

December 13th, 2012 | Posted by Sr. Marilyn Marie in Uncategorized - (2 Comments)

Today the Church sets before us the witness of one of the early virgins and martyrs – St. Lucy.  Many stories and legends surround this Saint, but in some way all remind us of her joyful fidelity in encounter with suffering. St. Lucy was truly “light” for others. We’ve often heard that the eyes are the windows of the soul; I picture St. Lucy as one whose eyes mirrored the joy in her soul.

Somehow each of us is called to see with the eyes of God rather than the eyes of selfishness and sin.  I think of how Jesus saw not a short, obnoxious tax collector but a curious seeker of God.  Rather than an unclean woman afflicted with a hemorrhage, he was able to see one who longed for healing and life.  His vision of an impetuous fisherman enabled that same fisherman to one day lead the Church.

Our view of others has great powers of transformation. Our call on this Advent feast is to lighten our world by seeing others as God sees them, by allowing our vision to transform, and by joyfully seeing all that we encounter as gifts of God.

Who will your vision bless this day?