Sr. Marilyn Hettinger, OSB, former prioress, principal dies

ROCK ISLAND — A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Wednesday, July 7, in the chapel of St. Mary Monastery for Sister Marilyn (Mary Mark) Hettinger, OSB, a former prioress and longtime educator, who also had served as associate director of religious education for the Diocese of Peoria.

Burial followed at Calvary Cemetery, also in Rock Island.

Sister Marilyn died on July 3, 2010, at the monastery. She was 78.

Born on July 21, 1931, Sister Marilyn was the daughter of Louis G. and Matilda (Gilles) Hettinger. A native of Pesotum, she attended St. Mary’s School there before going on to St. Theresa’s in Decatur and then St. Mary’s Academy in Nauvoo, which was owned and staffed by the Sisters of St. Benedict.

She entered the Benedictine community on Aug. 15, 1949, and made her first profession of vows on Aug. 23, 1951.

Sister Marilyn earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from St. Ambrose College in Davenport, Iowa, and a master’s degree in religious education from Webster College in St. Louis. She also studied supervision and administration through the University of Illinois.

She used that training as a teacher at St. Roch’s School in LaSalle (1951-53), St. Joseph’s School in Ivesdale (1953-55), the Benedictine Catechetical Center in Ladd (1955-58 and 1960-67), St. John the Baptist School in Bradford (1958-59), Immaculate Conception School in Monmouth (1959-60), and St. Malachy’s School in Geneseo and St. Thomas More in Munster, Ind.

Sister Marilyn also ministered as a principal at St. Anthony’s in Atkinson (1967-70), and Holy Family School in Peoria (1971-86).

In addition, she was associate director of religious education for the Diocese of Peoria from 1982 to 1984.

Sister Marilyn also held leadership roles in her community when St. Mary Monastery was still located in Nauvoo, serving as subprioress from 1984 to 1988, and prioress from 1988 to 1996. In recent years, she was the monastery librarian.

Sister Marilyn is survived by three sisters, Margaret Hettinger, Agatha Koeberlein and Helen Schaefer; many nieces and nephews; and her Benedictine Sisters, with whom she shared life for 59 years.

Memorials may be made to St. Mary Monastery, 2200 88th Avenue West, Rock Island, IL 61201.

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