We all come together to give thanks for the life of a Marilyn Kennedy, Sister Mary Leonard, a Sister of St. Joseph for seventy years. Marilyn was born in Brooklyn to Emily and Francis and attended the Academy of St. Joseph and St. Joseph High School.
After graduation Marilyn entered the congregation and taught elementary school in a number of parishes in Brooklyn, Queens and here in Brentwood at the Academy she attended. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Education from St. John’s University and a Master’s degree in counseling psychology from Manhattan College which enabled her to serve as a guidance counselor before becoming Principal of Mary’s Nativity in Flushing. With all of her experience and ongoing education through workshops and additional courses, Marilyn began her cherished ministry in counseling at St. Anthony’s High School in Huntington. Beloved by students and faculty during her 16 years at St. Anthony’s, Marilyn was given the San Damiano Award. During those years Marilyn also volunteered here at Maria Regina, helping in many ways but most important, she was a compassionate presence to the residents who faced so many challenges.
Today we celebrate all that Marilyn accomplished but most of all we celebrate a prayerful woman of deep faith and trust. In everything that Marilyn did she was thorough, organized, determined, kind and always grateful. In spite of life’s challenges, Marilyn cherished her life as a Sister of St. Joseph and enjoyed her friendships with Carmie, Doris and time with her family, appreciating any kindness toward her. A great cook, avid Mets fan and meticulous house treasurer, Marilyn trusted that God would always show the way. Unlike the disciples on the road to Emmaus who did not recognize Jesus with them, Marilyn knew God accompanied her and was the source of peace that she now enjoys in fullness.
I would like to end with Marilyn’s own words expressed in anticipation of her Golden Jubilee:
“I can’t imagine doing anything other with my life than being a Sister of St. Joseph of Brentwood. This invitation, to serve the Church in the Congregation of the great love of God and neighbor as a celibate religious woman, is the most wonderful gift that God could bestow on me. My fifty years as a CSJ have been a love affair with the God who abundantly showers me with infinite blessings and wraps me in embracing love. My life in the Congregation has been an awesome experience and I praise God for this privilege.”
Marilyn, we praise and thank God for you and your life with us and we are sure that you are now fully embraced in God’s love.
Sister Marilyn J. Kennedy, CSJ died on November 16, 2018 in the 70th year of her religious life.