Sister Mariane Bobowski, SNDdeN
March 4, 1937 – December 5, 2021
There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.
(1 Cor. 4:4-7)
Marianne Joanne Bobowski was born in Chicago, Illinois on March 4, 1937. She was the second child and only daughter of Walter and Mary. With her brother Robert, Marianne grew up in St. Helen Parish where she attended grade school. St. Helen’s had been founded to serve the growing Polish community in Northwest Chicago. Three of Marianne’s grandparents were immigrants and proud of their Polish roots. The parish, and her family, gave Marianne a deep appreciation for her own cultural identity.
When it came time for high school, Marianne enrolled at Notre Dame High School. There she met the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and learned about their foundress, Saint Julie Billiart. Julie’s focus on the goodness of God touched Marianne deeply. By her senior year she was sure God was calling her to give her life to serving others as a vowed religious. Her parents had other plans for her, but the depth of Marianne’s call did not diminish. In September of 1954, she traveled to Mount Notre Dame in Reading, Ohio and entered the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. The group of women who entered with Marianne were diverse in age, life experience and cultural backgrounds. Their common formation experiences helped them forge relationships that would last the rest of their lives.
Marianne took the name Sister Robert Mary as a novice, only returning to her baptismal name in 1968. With her peers, Marianne prepared to enter the ministry of teaching. She began her 43 years of teaching in 1957 and taught every grade from one through six by June of 1963. Marianne soon added grade seven to her repertoire. The intermediate grades became her focus with Social Studies and Language Arts as her specialties. Marianne’s 43 year teaching career took her to parish schools in Cincinnati, Dayton and Reading, Ohio, and Detroit, Michigan.
The summer of 1965 found Marianne utilizing a grant to revitalize and grow her ability to speak, read and write French. The following summer she received another grant that allowed her to continue learning French as she worked in a Day Camp in Orveau, France. Her fluency led her to volunteer to teach French full-time, but there were no needs in that area. She also volunteered to serve in Africa, but Sisters from the United States were not yet serving in French speaking Zaire. So Marianne focused on the needs of junior high students and took additional courses in guidance and counseling.
Her last couple of years teaching found Marianne preparing not to retire but to serve different needs. She trained and received her certification and license as a massage therapist in 2000. With training behind her, Marianne began a free-lance ministry. Her listening ear eased her clients' souls as her nimble fingers worked out the aches in their muscles. In 2010 she began doing message therapy for the Sisters of Mercy at McCauley Convent in Cincinnati. Marianne also started volunteering to tutor Hispanic children in 2013. She continued using her gifts with the retired and the young until very shortly before her death.
Somewhere along the way Marianne picked up a love for country music. Two of her favorite songs were Dolly Parton’s One Day at a Time, Sweet Jesus and Billy Joe Shaver’s But I’m gonna be a diamond some day. Both spoke of Marianne’s relationship with God. Dolly Parton may have reminded her of Saint Julie’s words: “Now we have set out on this road, let us walk with courage; let us take our way through brambles and thorns. Let us remember that our good Master, our Jesus, leads us - our good Jesus, our loving Savior.” (Letter 57) I’m Just an Old Chunk of Coal continues: But I’m gonna be a diamond some day. The verses speak about daily prayer and growth that leads to joy for other people. How fitting for a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur!
Marianne was a very private person. She was asked to share three favorite scripture passages at the time of her Golden Jubilee. She did not know the person and did not share that deeper part of herself. She did share a bit of her humor as she said her inspirational phrase was “She did it her way.” Marianne went on to share her insights into Saint Julie: a woman who knew how to think out of the box and do things in new and different ways. She ended the interview with her other favorite phrase: “How good is the good god!” Like Julie, Marianne was her own woman and lived her faithfulness to the good God and to Notre Dame her way.
In 2014, Marianne was asked to share her thoughts on friendship. She responded, “The uniqueness of each of my friends stands out. True friends are those who know me so well, and still love me so much.” Marianne’s death came suddenly and her friends and Sisters did not have a chance to say goodbye. Some of her last words expressed she was not ready to go. How fitting it was that as she was dying so many Sisters of Notre Dame were praying for her, including four of the women who had entered with her. Those four were together praying the rosary for Marianne, asking Mary to grant Marianne the grace to say her final yes. Marianne received that grace. She will be missed by her friends, the Sisters of Mercy and her Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. As we celebrate her life, we give thanks for the many ways she made God’s goodness known to so many. We also ask her prayers for us that we may have the grace to think outside the box as Saint Julie did to find ways to meet the needs of our challenging times.
Give thanks to God, bless God’s name, good indeed is the Lord, his mercy endures forever, his faithfulness lasts through every generation (Psalm 100:4-5)
- Born March 4, 1937 in Chicago, Illinois
- Parents: Walter J. (Ladislaus) Bobowski (born in Chicago, Illinois) and Mary Banks (born in Chicago, Illinois)
- Brother: Robert Bobowski
- Baptized on March 21, 1937 at St. John Cantius Church, Chicago, Illinois
- Confirmed on May 31, 1948 at St. Helen's Church, Chicago, Illinois
- Entered September 8, 1954 at Mt. Notre Dame
- First Profession: March 9, 1957
- Final Profession: August 13, 1962
- St. Helen Parish School, Chicago, Illinois 1950
- Notre Dame High School, Chicago, Illinois 1954
- Bachelor of Science in Education from Edgecliff College, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1965
- Masters in Education from the University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1976
- 1957-1958 Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Parish School, Reading, Ohio
- 1958-1959 St. Helen Parish School, Dayton, Ohio
- 1959-1961 St. James Parish School, Dayton, Ohio
- 1961-1963 St. Richard of Chichester Parish School, Cincinnati, Ohio
- 1963-1964 Our Lady of the Rosary Parish School, Dayton, Ohio
- 1964-1966 St. Euguene Parish School, Detroit, Michigan
- 1966-1972 Cardinal Pacelli School, Cincinnati, Ohio
- 1972-1976 St. George Parish School, Cincinnati, Ohio
- 1976-1979 Guardian Angels Parish School, Cincinnati, Ohio
- 1979-1980 St. William Parish School, Cincinnati, Ohio
- 1980-2000 St. Teresa Parish School, Cincinnati, Ohio
- 2000-2010 Massage Therapist, Cincinnati, Ohio
- 2010-2021 McAuley Convent, Sisters of Mercy, Cincinnati, Ohio
Died on December 5, 2021 at Erlanger, Kentucky
Sr. Kim Dalgarn SNDdeN
December 8, 2021