Sister Marilyn Barry returns to Upstate to celebrate golden jubilee

GREENVILLE — Sister Marilyn Barry, OSF, returned to the diocese Sept. 2 for a celebration of her 50 years of religious life.

Sister Marilyn served in the Diocese of Charleston from 1991-2000 as pastoral associate at Prince of Peace Church in Taylors. She was responsible for RCIA, liturgical ministers, homebound and hospital ministry, and a number of other parish activities. Sister Marilyn traveled to the Upstate from Lake Oswego, Ore., where she currently serves as pastoral associate at Our Lady of the Lake Parish.

The local celebration began with a Mass and reception at the Monastery of St. Clare in Greenville. During the Mass, which was attended by approximately 150 of Sister Marilyn’s friends, she renewed her vows of holy poverty, chastity, and obedience. Sister Marilyn, a native of Danburgy, Iowa, is a member of Sisters of St. Francis of Clinton, Iowa. She graduated from high school and professed her permanent vows upon completion of the community’s novitiate. She received her teaching degree from the University of San Diego, and for the first 25 years of her career she taught in Catholic grammar schools in Illinois, California and Iowa.

In 1984 she completed a degree in pastoral ministry from Seattle University, and for the last 25 years has focused her activities on pastoral ministry. She also holds a certificate in spiritual direction from the Mercy Center in Burlingame, Calif. In addition to being responsible for adult education in her current assignment, she continues to lead parish programs for RCIA and also returning Catholics.

Many of those attending the jubilee celebration had first met Sister Marilyn in their RCIA year at Prince of Peace.

“Sister Marilyn’s constancy in her vocation for these 50 years is an inspiration to us all,” said Jenna Gutierrez of Taylors, who became Catholic under Sister Marilyn’s guidance in 1994.  “I wouldn’t miss this happy occasion for the world.”

After reaffirming her vows, Sister Marilyn told the assembly of  friends that it was such a treat for her to be able to return to the Upstate and celebrate the joyous occasion in the presence of fellow Franciscan Father David Hyman of St. Anthony, her dear friends the Poor Clare Sisters of Greenville, and her many friends among the Catholic laity in the Upstate.

“Though Catholics represent only a small minority in South Carolina,” said Sister Marilyn, “they are a strong witness of our faith in the community.  My years there were some of the most wonderful of my 50 years of religious life.”