Sister Marijo Lynch
“The years pass and soon the Harvest is at hand, a time to reap the fruit of one’s life.” (excerpts from Psalm 90 from “Psalms for Praying”)
“The time to reap the fruit of her life came sooner than expected for Sister Marijo. Those of us who knew her are sure that she was ready for that coming as she was ready to accept anything that came her way for her whole life,” said Sister Mary Ann Phelan in her commentary for Sister Marijo Lynch, who died April 29.
Christened Mary Josephine Lynch, she was born May 12, 1937, in Chicago to Charles and Catherine (Bush) Lynch. The oldest of five children, she attended St. Agnes Grade School and Providence High School, both in Chicago.
“Sister Marijo was only 13 when her mother died from cancer. As a teenager she pitched in and helped with the younger children and the house. This is probably where the seeds of caring for others and great generosity started,” said Sister Mary Ann.
Sister Marijo entered the Congregation July 22, 1955, and professed first and perpetual vows Jan. 23, 1958, and Aug. 15, 1963, respectively. She earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and a master’s degree in education administration from DePaul University.
Sister Marijo commenced teaching at St. Sylvester, Chicago, in 1958. Her other pedagogical missions in Illinois included St. Joseph, Downers Grove; St. Mel and Providence-St. Mel, Chicago; and Mother Theodore Guerin High School, River Grove. Sister Marijo spent four years at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in Academic Services and in the WED program. She also spent many years as a teacher or administrator in schools in California. Those schools included Marywood, Orange; St. Teresa of Avila and Our Lady of Loretto, Los Angeles; and St. Joseph, Hawthorne. Sister Marijo spent one year as a teacher of English as a Second Language (ESL) at the South Central Los Angeles Ministry Project. Since 1999, Sister Marijo had been teaching ESL to adults in Gardena and Torrance, Calif.
“The thing people remember most about Sister Marijo is her willingness to do anything that was needed. In the novitiate our band was probably thought of as a generous group because as soon as a call for volunteers was issued Sister Marijo would say, ‘Oh, I’m sure my band could take care of that,’” said Sister Mary Ann.
“One of the sisters who lived with Sister Marijo when she was principal of St. Sylvester in Chicago told me this story. She said, ‘My mother died Aug. 25 in Hot Springs, Ark., shortly before school opened. Sister Marijo flew from Chicago not only for the funeral but also to help me dispose of my mother’s possessions. Leaving her school at a time that was so busy for a principal is something that I will always remember.’
“Sister Marijo was always faithful to whatever was asked of her. She was a prayerful person who lived her commitment to be another Christ to all with whom she came in contact.
“Proof that her students and those with whom she worked saw this Christ-like quality in Sister Marijo was witnessed by those who attended the Memorial Mass in California May 5, when students, teachers and administrators attended to pay their respects to this great lady,” continued Sister Mary Ann.
“We read in the Gospel of St. John, ‘You will grieve, but your grief will become joy. … I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice and no one will take your joy away from you.’
“With these words we say goodbye to you, Sister Marijo, and look forward to the day when we will join you in the joy that will never end,” said Sister Mary Ann.
The Mass of Christian Burial at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods was May 26, with the Rev. Daniel Hopcus presiding. She was survived by two sisters, Anne Miles of Jefferson City, Mo., and Ruth Peckler of Homey Glenn, Ill.; and one brother, James, of Fairbanks, Alaska.
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