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