Sister Marilita Lorenz

Sister Marilita LorenzAs one speaks to Sister Marilita Lorenz, her deep faith and trust in God are most evident. Sister Marilita believes that God’s plan for her has been made clear in the direct calls and invitations she received from provincial leadership, friends, and co-workers. As a result, she has found herself in many and various positions that promoted the sharing of her outstanding gifts and talents.

No one expected this premature girl, who was born to Bill and Lucile Lorenz in 1933 – already with a decisive streak – to someday join a religious community.  After receiving her first Holy Communion, her teacher at Holy Angels School in Aurora, Illinois, asked the girls, “Who is going to become a sister?” Everyone except Alice (her baptismal name) raised her hand! Decision making came early and naturally for Sister Marilita.

For Alice, the School Sisters of St. Francis serving at Madonna High School were models of social justice and the promotion of women. Sister Patricius in particular influenced Alice and nudged her in the direction she would later choose. This introduction and feeling about the School Sisters continued when Alice attended Alverno College, where she appreciated the additional mentors and models.

Postulancy in 1953 was followed by the novitiate. “This became a unique, close-knit class of 1954,” Sister Marilita said. Her first mission in 1956 was to New Prague, Minnesota, where she taught second grade for three years. Her next assignment, teaching high school seniors at St. Joseph High School in Kenosha, required an immediate adjustment and switch of education skills, an experience that Sister admits “was not without scars.” When Sister Marilita joined the Rockford Province, her master’s degree in library science was appreciated at Rockford’s Boylan High School.

Sister’s leadership skills were utilized when she served as Provincial in Rockford and in Regional leadership.  This was followed by 15 years spent in parish ministry and adult education. Sister extended her views of life as she took part in many activities and ministries that were a direct aid in assisting others to be the best of who they are.

In parish ministry, Sister’s special avocation was teaching the RCIA program. Here, she was part of the baptism where a little girl giggled as she was baptized and pleaded, “Can I do it again?” This prompted many more giggles. Throughout her life and in all circumstances, Sister continues to seek out  giggles and laughter with others.

 Sister Marilita’s dedicated service and compassion finally led her to the position of personal services director at St. Joseph Convent in Campbellsport. Why note these ministry positions? Because Sister Marilita feels that every position she has held was the result of a direct nudge, encouragement, or call.

“Each position for ministry was exactly what I needed at the time to continue developing who I am as a person, as well as grow in many wonderful relationships,” she said. “The call of God became very clear through others who encouraged, urged, and strongly invited me to various ministries. I am who I am now because I accepted and am enjoying my life as a School Sister of St Francis. It has been gift. I have become more than I could have become alone.”

Sister now enjoys a welcome retirement at Sacred Heart in Milwaukee.  She often speaks of her pride in belonging to the School Sister family. With more time for prayer, serious thought, and reflection, Sister so appreciates being at Sacred Heart, where she finds all the opportunities invaluable and she treasures the many sisters and staff she meets on a daily basis.

Sister Marilita’s belief is that the spirit of who the School Sisters of St. Francis are will always live on. She envisions that the work of our foundresses will always continue – perhaps differently but definitively. As she glanced in the direction of our chapel, Sister Marilita said, “The spirit of all the sisters lives on, right here, too.”

Sister Marilita, your spirit lives on as you continue to be so caring and appreciative of others. The nudge now is to keep hearing the call as you savor the time to continue that personal, relational, and spiritual journey. Blessings on that journey!