Sister Marian Bandille, a member of the Community of the Missionary Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, shares her story in her own words. Her community in Tenafly, New Jersey received a 2020 grant for $25,000 to replace windows.
The Sisters of this community taught me in elementary school. It was their example of love and simplicity and the kindness they showed to each student which inspired me to consider religious life and in particular the congregation of which they were a part.
After first profession of vows, I began my journey of ministry as a teacher in one of the schools we staffed in Philadelphia, PA. My teaching assignments took me to Augusta, GA; Rockford, IL; Savannah, GA; and Brooklyn, NY over a span of 20 years. I enjoyed all these experiences but my favorite ones were the two teaching assignments in Georgia. Our missions in Georgia were begun by our foundress, Elizabeth Hayes. Shortly after the Civil War ended, our foundress went to Georgia and opened an orphanage for black orphans. Our Sisters worked for many years in Georgia, eventually staffing four elementary schools and one high school for black students. When integration began, we worked to help in creating a smooth transition for all involved. I was part of this transition and it was a blessed and wonderful experience.
In 1974, I was elected to serve in the governance of our province as a member of the team and then in 1982 as [rovincial. From 1989 to 2001, I served as general minister and lived at our Generalate in Rome, Italy. After leaving Rome, I served as pastoral minister in a number of parishes in New Jersey. During the time that I served as member of the provincial team, the extension to our infirmary in Tenafly, NJ was built. I was closely involved in the planning and eventual completion of this building in 1978.
The windows which were chosen and which your grant is now helping us to replace were chosen because of their effectiveness in keeping cold out and heat in. But now at 42 years old they have been letting cold in and heat out! The new windows made possible by your generous grant will make a big difference for all of us. Our prayers and gratitude for SOAR! and all involved in the work you do for our aging religious.