Sister Marilyn Jean Runkel, OP

Sister Marilyn Jean celebrates 60 years of religious profession in 2020.

Springfield born and raised, Sister Marilyn Jean Runkel, OP, has spent much of her ministerial life in the Springfield Diocese. After teaching elementary and middle school at Aurora and Mendota, Ill., she served as a teacher and principal at St. Mary School in New Berlin and St. Frances Cabrini School in Springfield. Subsequently, she was principal at Holy Rosary School in Duluth, Minn., before she returning to Springfield as principal of St. Agnes School.

She was director of the  Office for Catholic Education in the diocese of Springfield in Illinois, overseeing elementary schools, high schools, catechetical programs, youth ministry, and adult formation.

While working on a doctoral degree in Organizational Development, she served as the first president of Sacred Heart-Griffin High School in Springfield. Upon completing her doctorate in 2005, she began teaching for Benedictine University in Lisle and at its Springfield campus, the former Springfield College in Illinois. She served as associate dean of Academic Affairs and chair of the Education Department, as well as overseeing the Management and Organizational Behavior master’s degree.

As an associate professor, she taught in the Education Department and the Organizational Development programs at Benedictine. She currently serves as an adjunct professor at Benedictine and as a board consultant, facilitator, and writer. She is a member of several boards of directors. Among these boards are the Faith Coalition for the Common Good on which she represents the Dominicans Sisters of Springfield; St. Patrick Catholic School,  M.E.R.C.Y. Communities, Central Illinois Organization Development Network, Gamaliel of Illinois and Iowa, and Marian Catholic High School in Chicago Heights, Ill. She is a member of the Springfield Dominican Anti-Racism Team.

Sister Marilyn Jean believes her commitment to religious life was significantly influenced by the faith-filled example of her parents, the advantage of her grade school and high school education in the Dominican tradition, and the wisdom of mentors throughout her life who continue to reveal God’s love and presence among us.

Her parents, Joseph and Marie Runkel, are deceased.

Sister Marilyn Jean’s Ministry Assignments

1960-1963          Holy Angels, Aurora, Ill.,  Grade 5
1963-1971          Holy Cross, Mendota, Ill., Grades 6-8
1971-1977          St Mary, New Berlin, Ill.,  Principal, grades 7-8
1977-1980          St Frances Cabrini, Springfield, Ill., Principal, grade 8
1980-1986          Holy Rosary, Duluth, Minn., Principal
1986-1990          St Agnes, Springfield, Ill., Principal
1990-1998          Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, Office for Catholic Education
1998-2005          Doctoral Work
2000-2004          Sacred Heart-Griffin, Springfield, Ill., President
2005-2007          Benedictine University, Springfield, Ill., Dean
2007-Present     Benedictine University, Springfield, Ill., Assoc. professor


8 thoughts on “Sister Marilyn Jean Runkel, OP”

  1. Congratulations Sister Marilyn Runkel, thank you for all your wonderful years of dedication and for leading and teaching all God’s children. You are truly an inspiration to all of us. God Bless you always.

  2. Tom and Mary Call

    Congratulations on your 60 year Jubilee Sister Marilyn Jean. We were reading the new Just Words magazine and saw the article and had to send our regards. We hope you are well and not involved too much with those Call troublemakers in Springfield.

    God Bless you,

    Tom and Mary Call, love from all the Calls in Minnesota

  3. Ann Carew Grant

    Congratulations and happy Jubilee! I have so many great memories of our days in New Berlin…especially the ice storm, singing on stage with the Lettermen and teaching grades 1-3 while at the same time “acting” as band director! Thank goodness the two Sullivan boys were in the band and gave me lots of help,for although I played piano and guitar, I knew nothing about band instruments. What fun days. Enjoy your community celebration and thank you for your witness.

  4. Dear “Smidge” (Sister Marilyn Jean),
    I was thinking of you and “Smitty” (Sister Mary Thomasene) the other day – when you two were “shootin hoops” like Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen (good thing you guys got along better!). Congratulations on your 60th Jubilee! Sixty years!!!! And your still smart as a whip! I’m sorry this note is a little late, but as you probably remember, I was the “slow one” of the twelve, (which I like to attribute to my older brother Tom). The gifts of knowledge, love, prayers, and the beautiful memories that you have given us over the years are truly cherished, and we thank you very much!
    Our love and prayers are always with you!
    Mike and Diane Call

  5. Dear Sister Jean ! I don’t know if you remember me! I was a member of your parish ! My name is Paula KIRNER —- Edward KIRNER’s wife ! My Edward passed away several years ago of a heart attack! We always kept you in our prayers 🙏. God bless you Sister Jean ! I love you !

  6. Congratulations on your 60th anniversary, Marilyn Jean! I very much enjoyed the F.L.O.W.cast interview you did with Jeremiah. I learned so much, including a lot more of who you are. Just think: it was only a year ago now that we providentially met at Sedalia on retreat, and became Dominican friends! Thanks for all that you are and do. Dominican hug, Jerry

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