Sister Marilyn Thiel, 1932-2011

Born November 20, 1932, Cincinnati, Ohio
Entered St. Walburg Monastery,
September 15, 1951
Received habit, March 21, 1952
First Profession, June 30, 1943
Died December 21, 2011

           Sister Marilyn Thiel, OSB was born to Elmer G. and Marie Cecilia Bender Thiel on November 20, 1932 and given the name Marilyn Ann at her baptism. Her mother died in January when Marilyn was but a few months old and her father’s parents cared for while she was a young child. Marilyn’s father married Mary Gertrude Anna. Together they had seven children—David, Michael, Charles, Linda, Sandy, Steve and Rita. Marilyn rejoiced in seven siblings and they remained a close-knit group always. Charles is now deceased.

            In her early years Marilyn was very close to her younger cousin, Elaine Poage, and they remained close—almost sisters—always. Both girls attended Villa Madonna Academy where Marilyn became well acquainted with the Benedictine Sisters. After graduation in 1951 she became a postulant at St. Walburg Monastery on September 15 and a novice on March 21, 1952 with a new name, Sr. Marita. When given the option to return to her baptismal name in the 1960’s, Sr. Marita again became Marilyn.

            Sr. Marilyn was missioned to parish schools and completed her education courses on Saturdays and in summers. She received her B.A. degree from Villa Madonna College and an M.A. from Xavier University. Marilyn exercised her piano and organ skills in parishes where she taught. Her own summation of her professional activities appeared in the 50th Reunion booklet of the VMA Class of ’51 . She says: “I taught grades 2-8 for 30 years and was organist wherever I taught. During this time I was principal at 2 schools and was a director of the CCD program, pre-school through 12th grade. After years of teaching, I worked with the elderly at Madonna Manor for 13 years.” The schools in which Marilyn taught were St. Paul, Mary Queen of Heaven, St. Henry, St. Francis Xavier (Falmouth), Blessed Sacrament, St. Patrick (LaJunta, CO), and Villa Madonna Academy.

            Sr. Marilyn retired in 2000 and took an active role at the monastery. She was often a member of the schola (choir) and took her turn as a cantor.  In recent years her activities were limited but she contributed whenever and wherever she could. She greatly enjoyed the company of friends and co-workers.

            Sr. Marilyn’s death was sudden and a shock to the community. Difficulty with breathing caused problems. She moved to the infirmary on Friday and entered the hospital on Sunday with congestive heart failure. A worsening condition took her to ICU where she died peacefully at 6:19 a.m. on December 21. Sr. Marilyn is survived by this religious community, six brothers and sisters, a devoted cousin, and many nieces and nephews.

            Evening Prayer Vigil and Service of Remembrance was held on December 26, with Mass of Christian Burial following on December 27, 2011 at 5:20 p.m. The burial took place on December 28 at 10:00 a.m.