Sister Marian Diedrick
S. Marian was born in Little Chute, WI, earned a bachelor’s degree from Dominican College in Racine, and attended graduate school at Xavier College, Chicago. She taught grade school in Wisconsin and Michigan for 33 years, including at Holy Trinity and St. Edward, Racine. She also served in parish ministry, and for 10 years as assistant coordinator and then coordinator of Siena Center. She lives at Siena Center and ministers as a pastoral companion for other sisters.
Sister Marian (Marguerite) Diedrick
What first drew you to the Racine Dominican community?
The Racine Dominicans were my teachers in grade school and high school at St. John’s, Little Chute. Their dedication, caring, and spirit of joy encouraged me to join the community.
What has kept you in the community all these years?
Living with community members who challenged, supported and encouraged me in this journey of faith together has enabled me to grow and take risks, and it has sustained me in my commitment to prayer and service.
What was one particularly cherished memory of your years in ministry?
Being in the classroom as a teacher – it was a joy and privilege to witness the students’ eyes light up and smiles cross their faces as if to say, “Now I understand.” I cherished their successes and their desire to learn.
What is one thing people today should know about the Racine Dominicans?
The Racine Dominicans are committed to proclaiming God’s Word in their lives by searching for the truth and working for peace, justice, and care of the earth.
What do you enjoy doing at this time of your life?
I enjoy living at Siena Center and having the time and space for reflection, as well as the opportunity to be involved in various kinds of service at Siena. The people and surroundings bring beauty to my life. For relaxation, I enjoy pricking and stitching greeting cards.
S. Marian Diedrick has been around Racine Dominican sisters for much of her life. A number of her relatives were sisters, and for 12 years of her schooling she was taught by Racine Dominicans. S. Marian has been a sister herself for 55 years and does a lot as a companion to the sisters at the Siena Center in Racine, WI.
S. Marian was involved in a variety of ministries before coming to the Siena Center. She was an elementary school teacher for 35 years in a number of schools in Wisconsin and Michigan, and later cared for hospice patients in their homes for six years in Portage, WI. For ten years she was the coordinator of Siena Center, the Racine Dominican motherhouse, and was responsible for the lives of the sisters living there. She also visited the sisters at Lakeshore Manor, a skilled care facility, for two years. During her time with the elderly and the sisters, she became very close with them. “Because of these experiences, I am at ease with visiting the elderly and sick,” she said. This ease she feels with them makes her a positive presence for the sisters with whom she works today.
In her current ministry as pastoral companion, S. Marian continues to respond to the needs of the sisters. When she moved to Siena Center two years ago, she was asked if she would be interested in this ministry and, considering her background with the elderly, she took on the job. She calls it a “ministry of availability,” meaning that she is there for whomever needs her help. The tasks she does for the sisters vary from day to day. She might help sisters who have difficulty writing by addressing their mail for them, read to those who have trouble seeing, or help with laundry and sewing. The most important thing she does however, is simply being herself: a friendly, cheerful companion.
There are many things that S. Marian likes about her work with the sisters. Her relationship with the sisters is obviously very close. “Being that close to the elderly sisters allows me to see the divine presence within them,” she said. “I can see their love for God, for one another, and for their community.” S. Marian also said that the sisters have a lot of happiness and enthusiasm in their lives: “One of my favorite things is seeing their faces light up with joy as they share stories about their families and past ministries.”
The sisters also love S. Marian’s presence among them. She’s approachable, and they feel free to ask her to do things with them. “The sisters are comfortable with her,” said S. Agnes Johnson. “They really appreciate her joyful attitude and willingness to help others. She always has a smile, and it comes from her genuine care for them.” S. Marian likewise appreciates the sisters and their support. “I feel very loved and affirmed by them,” she said.