Sister Marilyn Therese Lipps
Sister Marilyn Therese Lipps was born on Sept. 15, 1920, in Indianapolis, to Henry and Stella (Fuller) Lipps. She baptized Therese Marie and was the youngest of the six girls born in this Lipps family. Her five sisters preceded her in death: Sister Marie Joan and Sister Marie Agnese, along with Frances, Helen and Alice, said Sister Martha Wessel during her commentary for Sister Marilyn Therese, who died on Friday, Aug. 26, at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. She was 95 years old and had been a Sister of Providence for 68 years.
Sister Marilyn Therese entered the Congregation on July 16, 1948, and professed final vows on Jan. 23, 1956. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and masters’ degrees in special education from Indiana University and in theology from Seattle University. In her 68 years as a Sister of Providence, she ministered for 25 years in schools in Indiana, Illinois and North Carolina. She was teacher and principal at Saint Mary Village School from 1961-63, and she ministered seven years at Saint Mary Child Center in Indianapolis.
In 1976, she left classroom teaching and gave the next 11 years to serving as director of religious education – first in Lafayette and then at Saint Susanna Parish in Plainfield. In 1988, she became Coordinator of Reception Volunteers and Chaplain to AIDS patients at the Damien Center in Indianapolis. Retiring in 1992, she continued volunteering at the Damien Center as well as at Saint Mary Child Center. In 1992, she was awarded the Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara Respect Life Award for her ministry to persons with AIDS.
In 1998, Marilyn Therese returned to the motherhouse, serving her sisters in multiple ways – including baking delicious pies such as lemon meringue. She was also involved in the tutoring program for the House on State Road 150. The last student she tutored had hearing difficulties and because of her own hearing challenges, she was able to help this student cope and learn in spite of his disability. She was very happy to be sacristan for the chapel in Providence Health Care.
Sister Marilyn Therese kept in contact with many of the people she journeyed with in her various ministries. She loved to keep in touch through letters or cards and also email. One of these friends, Craig Simms, emailed the following upon hearing of Marilyn’s death: “I will miss her child-like wonder and appreciation of all things good in the world and in others.”
Another friend, Michael Swank, posted on Facebook this tribute to her: A model of Christian values. She saved my life many times in my late teens and early 20s. A voice of reason. A voice of an angel. She tethered me to earth when I wanted to escape the pain of coming out. She gave me strength and led me and will always be a model of what the church should be … could be … I honor your passing today with my tears, my joyous memories, your blessings, and all the good you left this earth a better place. Te amo ‘my nun.’ Many other friends posted tributes on Facebook to show their respect and love for Sister Marilyn Therese.
Yes, Marilyn never lost interest in what was happening in the world, in community or in the lives of individuals. Even though she was challenged by her hearing loss and eventually almost total deafness, she was always ready to patiently learn to read lips or have one write the messages on her “white board.” The closed caption on TV and the special phone kept her connected with her friends and the world. She was a wonderful example of someone who accepted her disability as a cross that God gave her to carry. She always tried to find the goodness in what was happening and praised God for the beauty, love and people around her. She took great delight in praying with God by looking at nature and enjoying the changes in the tree outside her window on the third floor of Lourdes.
She was very grateful to the nurses and staff who took care of her and gave thanks to God for their presence in her life. She was very appreciative and trusting of Sister Carole Fedders, who served as her first Health Care Representative. And Marilyn would want to express thanks to all who prayed for her and/or sat with her during her final days before being called home to God.
Marilyn loved to play games, especially Scrabble with the Sisters at Owens – Marge, Mary Beth and Donna. More recently, she and Sister Mary Ann Lechner enjoyed many a game of Scrabble on the porch at Lourdes. Marilyn was also an excellent Rummikub player, winning as often as she lost games with the group that gathered in the Providence Community Room after Sunday dinner.
Yes, Marilyn according to your favorite scripture verse in Hosea 2:16, 21, 22, God lured you to the desert and spoke to your heart and you answered in fidelity to God’s call. We rejoice with you as you celebrate with God, Mother Theodore, your parents and sisters in heaven! Pray for us, too!
Funeral services for Sister Marilyn Therese took place on Tuesday, Sept. 6, in the Church of the Immaculate Conception.
A Wake took place at 9 a.m., on Tuesday, Sept. 6. Mass of Christian Burial took place at 11 a.m.
We welcome you to share your memories of Sister Marilyn Therese in the comment section below.
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