Meet Sister Marilyn Smith

In high school Marilyn firmly declared to friends that under no circumstances would she ever enter the convent.  At the time her interests were divided among careers in law, biology and interior decoration.  Then one day in a physics class at Mora High School in Watsonville, she was jolted when a lab partner whispered, “You would make a good nun.”  That was when she remembered a thought from her third 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, Washington, and to Millbrae, Santa Barbara, and Folsom in California.  Her assignment to St. Thomas More parish in Lynnwood held special meaning for her.  “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 or the beers or Sister’s weekly homemade chocolate chip cookies that made it happen, but this school boasts a first class spacious library with technical capabilities as well!

Sister’s last assignment has been as a reading specialist in 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.

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.”