Meet Sister Marilyn (Maureen) Smith – 60-Year Jubilarian

In high school, Sr. Marilyn firmly declared to friends that under no circumstances would she ever enter the convent, but a series of events helped her remember a thought from her 3rd grade teacher – “To be happy, just follow God’s will.” This became a lifelong theme for her.

From her first teaching assignment in San Francisco, Sr. Marilyn fell in love with teaching elementary school children. Later assignments took her Lynnwood, WA, and to Millbrae, Santa Barbara, and Folsom in CA. Her assignment to St. Thomas More parish in Lynnwood held special meaning for her. She states that, “It was like going home. The parish was so welcoming.”

At St. John Notre Dame School in Folsom, Sr. Marilyn was concerned that there was no library. As principal, she kept voicing her concern until a contingent of dads told her they would build her a library on their weekends. The project became so popular and so much a community effort that the idea of rotating teams was dropped. Who knows whether it was the camaraderie, the beers or the Sisters’ weekly homemade chocolate chip cookies that made it happen, but this school now boasts a first-class spacious library with technical capabilities as well!

Sr. Marilyn Smith, SNDdeN, cooking at the Sisters’ House of Prayer in Carmel, CA, in 1986.

Sr. Marilyn’s last assignment has been as a reading specialist at John Gill Elementary School in Redwood City. Pam Thornburg, a co-worker, describes what impressed her most about Sr. Marilyn: “She had incredible knowledge of many unique and innovative ways of helping students to learn, and such a passion for learning. That same passion inspired her students to learn. Her eyes shone with love for her students.”

In recent years, Sr. Marilyn has become increasingly interested in physical and spiritual healing, due in part to a childhood accident which left her with certain lifelong vulnerabilities. Her healing ministry has intensified her concern for children’s mental and physical health. It has also taken her to Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Germany, and several other states within the U.S.

St. Marilyn Smith, SNDdeN, with her sisters in 2010.

Summing up her life, Sr. Marilyn says, “I am grateful for having the motto, ‘How good is the good God’ as the mantra for my life. I am filled with gratitude that I have lived my life saying, living, entering into the process of becoming that mantra in order to bring it to others in so many different settings. When I started out, I never imagined that I would celebrate this jubilee in shelter in place however this has done, it has brought together significant threads in my life. I know that God is good. I know that the soul journey is a priority. I know from scripture, especially the book of Job, that in times of turmoil and turbulence the meeting place with God is that still quiet place within. And from this place anything is possible. These realizations truly are a gift for this jubilee celebration. They will help me to serve God’s people, humanity, and mother earth much more fully.”