No wonder the Marillac Coming Home Committee hosted a celebration mid-September. The month is ripe for the picking—not just apples but abundant back-to-school memories.  The sight of a uniform, especially Black Watch plaid, unleashes surprising emotions in any Marillac graduate and, certainly, unending stories. These (mostly) funny tales of ripped hems, loose threads, and wayward pleats are ripe for sharing in season.   Click here to view photos from the event.


So, too, are memories of big sisters and freshman little sisters. Chandlers too decorated to record assignments. Welcome-back guitar masses and ICC buttons with yearly slogans “It’s Getting Better All the Time!” or “We Can Make It Happen!”  Moms and dads hosting the Marillac Family Association Mass and potluck.  September after September of scholarship, sock hops, auditions, and art fairs.


It’s no wonder, then, that graduates from the classes of 1972 through 1994 gathered at Techny Towers in Northbrook on September 24, 2017, for a Back-to-School Mass and brunch.  Serenaded by our alumnae choir, we gathered first in the chapel to give thanks for a harvest of Septembers at 416 Waukegan Road. Father Bart Winters reminded us of our legacy from the Daughters of Charity.  Having worked at Marillac St. Vincent Family Services, he assured us that the Daughters continue to empower people in every community they serve. Sr. Constance’s “Responsible freedom” lives on! It’s still who the Daughters are and what they do.   


And who we are, too. But how could we know, those long-ago September mornings, making our way to homeroom, how much we were absorbing not just geometry but also St. Louise de Marillac’s instructions to her Daughters of Charity? She encouraged them to be strong women who supported one another in their daily work. But we also saw, daily, how they cared and prayed for others. That was part of their mission, to assist one another in health and to be there “in case of sickness or death.”


Not surprisingly, our Marillac friends have been there for us, through the years, through thick and thin.  It’s no wonder at all, then, that we remembered at Mass the 16 members of our Marillac family whose deaths we learned of in the last year, many through our “Connections” campaign. Classmates and family members processed forward with autumn-colored roses as Margaret Pasquesi, Class of 1989, led us in singing, “For all whom we remember, there will ever be a place.”  We’re grateful to Laurie Zygmunt Harris, Class of 1980, for maintaining a book with stories and photos of the now 120 deceased members of our Marillac family, insuring that each has a cherished place in our memories whenever we gather. 


And our Coming Home Legacy gatherings, in true Marillac spirit, involve lots of laughter—plus blue and green decorations! We had plenty of both for our brunch.  When Beth Maher Ruske, Class of 1979, posed the question, “What’s your favorite Marillac memory?” an early-1970s graduate blurted out the answer on half the room’s mind: “Sunning in the courtyard with a foil-covered record album.”  Nuf-yad, Halloween parties, escaping to the chapel for quiet, and the plays were a few other favorites overheard in large and small groups. Beth thanked everyone who showed up “to school.”  She reminded us that the Coming Home Legacy Campaign is about helping students in 2017 get back to school and stay there by participating in the ongoing educational programs of the Daughters of Charity in Chicago. No matter the month, no matter the year, Marillac women can still make it happen!  


By Eileen Durkin '78