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Sister Marian Schwenk, SSJ 1933-2020


Sister Marian Schwenk died Dec. 30, 2020, at the Sisters of St. Joseph Residence in Clarence after a period of declining health. She was 87.  

Born Oct. 1, 1933, in Buffalo to Howard and Loretta (Tangelder) Schwenk, Sister Marian entered the Sisters of St. Joseph in September 1951 and pronounced final vows in August 1959. She earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Mount St. Joseph Teachers College (now Medaille) in 1962 and a master’s in education from Medaille in 1970.

Sister’s 23 years in elementary education brought her to city and rural schools. In her last two assignments she experienced variety – moving from one year at a three-classroom school (St. Patrick, Java Center) to nine years at a 17-classroom school (Immaculate Conception, East Aurora). She was principal at both.

Always interested in spirituality, Sister studied in the Institute of Spiritual Leadership Center of Theological Studies at the Jesuit School of Theology in Chicago, and received certification in 1976. She then served on the faculty of Mount St. Joseph Academy in Buffalo as campus minister and teacher of religious education until 1985.

Sister Marian helped mentor young sisters as a member of her congregation’s Formation Team for several years.

Called to administration at the Clarence Residence in 1985, Sister brought her gentleness and attention to detail to varied roles helping her retired Sisters. She served as co-coordinator of the residence until 2003, and then as spiritual care coordinator. Whatever the tasks, she described them as “all helping the whole.” She retired in 2012.

Sister is survived by five nephews and many grandnieces and nephews.

Burial was private. A memorial Mass will be offered by the Sisters of St. Joseph at a later date.


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