Sister Marilyn Reiser, CSC

(October 30, 1931 - August 11, 2012)

Word has been received of the death of Sister Marilyn Reiser, who died at 3 a.m. on Saturday, August 11, 2012, in Saint Mary’s Convent, Notre Dame, Indiana.

Sister Marilyn had a personality that was open and friendly to everyone. She could turn a difficult situation into one of peace and even humor with little or no effort. What a gift for a local community and for the various groups that benefited from her influence. No matter to what ministry she was assigned, she was valued as someone who cared.

Sister Marilyn spent 20 years in the elementary schools of the Midwest before taking her gifts to minister in the hospital setting. Those who had benefited from her caring presence never forgot her. When she retired to Saint Mary’s in 2009, Sister Marilyn was urged by the alumni of Notre Dame School in Michigan City, Indiana, to attend their reunion and, since she was confined to a wheelchair, they hired a van for her transportation. Not only did the alumni provide this loving assistance, but a group drove down separately to be sure she was transported in comfort. This same group saw to it that the celebration was a fitting honor for Sister Marilyn. Such was the enduring love engendered by this remarkable caring religious.

The outstanding interpersonal relations skills Sister Marilyn exhibited were quickly recognized by the congregation. In 1972 she was elected to the leadership role of supervision as a member of the Regional Administration of the Midwest Elementary Region. This successful term was followed immediately with the appointment as the religious superior of the large community at Our Lady of Holy Cross in South Bend, Indiana, where the sisters in residence responded well to Sister Marilyn’s warmth and concern. Her wonderful sense of humor smoothed over the “bumps in the road” of everyday living.

Because of her caring nature, it seemed like a natural fit for Sister Marilyn to turn her energies from an administrative role to the ministry of health care. As a preparation for this new endeavor, she enrolled in the Institute of Spirituality at Duquesne University in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, where she honed her skills to become a patient care representative.

In 1982 Sister Marilyn began her new ministry as the patient care representative in Saint John’s Health System in Anderson, Indiana. She described her duties as follows: “Provides a ‘sponsorship’ presence and spiritual and emotional support to the patients, the patients’ significant other and to the Emergency Room staff.” In this role she also gave that same support to the personnel associated with the functions of the emergency room and its related areas. Added to this was her assistance with clerical responsibilities that facilitated the treatment of patients who were admitted to the emergency room under traumatic circumstances. Sister Marilyn was always there responding to patients’ needs, to their families and to the staff members who provided the medical expertise necessary.

Sister Marilyn’s 27 years of service to the patients and staff of Saint John’s Health System were fittingly acknowledged on the occasion of her jubilee. The hospital administration presented her with a plaque commemorating her years of religious consecration and her devotion to the patients and staff of Saint John’s.

Sister Marilyn had a great devotion to the Mass and prayed the Scripture readings daily. She was a very prayerful religious and found her spiritual strength in the Eucharist. She will now celebrate this miracle with the reality of God’s presence. May she rest in peace.


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