Thursday, June 13, 2024
Concordia Sisters of St. Joseph

Concordia Sisters of St. Joseph

Loving God and neighbor without distinction: A pontifical institute of women religious of the Roman Catholic Church

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Sister Marilyn Wall honored with Rural Life Service Award

A Sister of St. Joseph has received the first-ever Catholic rural Life Service Award, in recognition of her work in small communities in Republic County.



Rural Life Day – Bird City – Aug. 16, 2015

Last fall our Salina Rural Life Commission came up with new goals we hoped to achieve.   One of these was an award  to be given to an individual, couple or parish that has been active in the rural life of our diocese.  We named it  the Catholic Rural Life Service Award.

Today it is my privilege to present this award to Sister Marilyn Wall!  That is a double joy for me since Sister Marilyn and I entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia the same day many years ago!  Sister Marilyn grew up near Chicago/Aurora, Illinois, and was more of a city girl than country like myself who grew up on a farm.

One memory I must share with you: As postulants,  our first year was at the Motherhouse in Concordia and at that time we had cows, pigs and chickens for milk, meat and eggs.  We had a big barn there as well.  One day Marilyn and I went to feed the chickens in the lower part of the barn; she had not had the experience. We had bowls of scraps and chicken feed. How do we do this? Just throw it out, I said.  She did — and the chickens all flew into the air, making Marilyn jump back and scream!  It was a first lesson!

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

Sister Marilyn’s parish work began in  1991  when she worked with Father Labbe at St. Mary’s as Pastoral Associate, asking Father Labbe to teach her all about being Pastoral  Administrator

From there she was assigned as Pastoral Administrator in Oberlin and  Pastoral Associate for Leoville and Selden.  There she and Father Jim Hoover began working together.  She was grateful that he included her in every aspect of ministry that he could.  It tripled their effectiveness in ministry.   Also in this area, Rick and Dori Pauls, who still have a funeral home, invited her to officiate at funerals for those who had no pastors, and that led to other churches asking for her help in this way .

Their next assignment was ministry in  Hanover, Washington, Greenleaf and Morrowville — a new set of people in rural areas of our diocese.

In 2009 Father Jim was moved to Wilson, Dorrance and Holyrood.  They also hired Sister Marilyn.  This was a two-year stint.

For the last several years, Sister  Marilyn has served at St. Augustine’s in Washington, Kan., and the little towns around.   She also serves part time as chaplain for Meadowlark Hospice.  She is grateful to Father David Metz for allowing her to continue ministry there.  The parishioners in Washington knew her gifts and were grateful that she could be with them again.

Marilyn’s great desire has always been to help people find God in their lives and I know and have heard of the gift she has been to those she meets — she goes out to all the people wherever she serves and is loved and respected. She has come to know and love the rural people and culture. And she has learned a lot more than how to feed chickens!

So Sister Marilyn, we thank you  for your service in rural Kansas over these years!  Your gifts have enriched so many!

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