Sister Marilyn Wall receives new award for rural service

August 24, 2015 by

After the ceremony Aug. 16 in Bird City, Kan., Sister Marilyn Wall of Washington, left, poses with the new Catholic Rural Life Service Award presented to her by Sister Carm Thibault, right, a member of the Salina Catholic Rural Life Commission.

After the ceremony Aug. 16 in Bird City, Kan., Sister Marilyn Wall of Washington, left, poses with the new Catholic Rural Life Service Award presented to her by Sister Carm Thibault, right, a member of the Salina Catholic Rural Life Commission.

A Sister of St. Joseph with a passion for small parishes has been honored with the first-ever Catholic Rural Life Service Award.

Sister Marilyn Wall of Washington, Kan., received the award during the Salina Diocese’s Rural Life Day in Bird City, Kan., on Sunday, Aug. 16.

Sister Carm Thibault, a member of the Salina Rural Life Commission and also a Sister of St. Joseph of Concordia, presented the award.

In creating the honor, Sister Carm said, the goal was to recognize “an individual, couple or parish that has been active in the rural life of our diocese.”

Sister Marilyn, who has served in parish ministry since 1991, was a “city girl” who grew up in Aurora, Ill., Sister Carm said. “Her great desire has always been to help people find God in their lives. She goes out to all the people wherever she serves and is loved and respected, and she has come to know and love the rural people and culture.”

Before beginning ministry in rural areas, Sr. Marilyn taught school, served at Manna House of Prayer offering spiritual direction and programs, did social work and served on the Executive Council for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia.

In 1991, she went to work with Father Emil Labbe at St. Mary’s in Salina. She was the Pastoral Associate, and asked Father Labbe to teach her all she needed to know to be a Pastoral Administrator.

From there she was assigned as Pastoral Administrator in Oberlin and Pastoral Associate for Leoville and Selden, where she began working with Father Jim Hoover.

“Father Jim included me in every aspect of the ministry that he could,” she says. “It was an experience in ministering in tandem that tripled our effectiveness.”

In 2002, their two-person team moved to Washington County, serving the parishes in Washington, Hanover, Greenleaf and Morrowville, and continued the same style of ministry.

From 2009-2011 they served together in the parishes in Wilson, Dorrance and Holyrood. Then Father Jim retired from parish ministry, and took over as chaplain at the sister’s Nazareth Motherhouse in Concordia.

Sister Marilyn returned to Washington, where she serves at St. Augustine’s Church and parishes in the nearby small towns. She is also a part-time chaplain with Meadowlark Hospice.

“This ministry has never felt like work to me,” she says. “Rather, it is a lifestyle of, as we say among our sisters, ‘active and inclusive love.’ It’s an experience of being immersed ina community — being present and available.”

For Sister Marilyn, that includes attending all kinds of events in Washington and the surrounding area: civil, school, sports, family reunions, benefits — “anything that brings me in touch with people,” she explains.

“Mostly it’s about loving the people, learning their past, walking with them in the present, and together with them following Jesus into the future.”

 

Comments

5 Responses to “Sister Marilyn Wall receives new award for rural service”

  1. Cindy Doebele on March 28th, 2016 12:14 pm

    Congratulations Sister Marilyn! What a wonderful award for a very special person! You are most deserving!

  2. Missy Ljungdahl on August 26th, 2015 2:08 pm

    Congrats, Marilyn! I am happy for you and for all those you serve.

  3. Lynn Kasper on August 24th, 2015 9:29 pm

    Always knew you would be famous. Congratulations.

  4. Joselyn on August 24th, 2015 7:46 pm

    Congratulations Sister Marilyn! Wonderful award for a wonderful person!

  5. Connie Williams on August 24th, 2015 6:13 pm

    Congrats, Marilyn. Knew you were that special person many years ago when we met at the Apostolic School.
    Just keep up that good work and prayers for all of us.
    God bless your efforts

Feel free to leave a comment...