In Memoriam

Sister Marlene (Karen Marie) Ptaszynski, OP


Micah tells us in the first reading to “Do the right thing, love goodness and walk humbly with your God.”  This is a perfect description of Marlene’s life. Last evening we heard about Marlene’s gentleness, love and compassion – with a smile larger than life. The comment was made, “she always showed up.”

This paragraph opened Sister Mary Kay Homan’s funeral homily for Sister Marlene Ptaszynski, whose long service as a member of the Congregation included more than forty-five years as a chaplain and pastoral minister.

Marlene Rita was born in Detroit on September 21, 1936, to Joseph and Gertrude (Stachowiak) Ptaszynski. Joseph was born in Poland; came with his parents to Hartford, Connecticut; and as a young adult moved to Detroit, where he became an autoworker and was eventually employed by the United Auto Workers union. He and Gertrude, who grew up as part of Detroit’s large Polish community, had two children: Beverly-Ann, the oldest, and Marlene.

The family lived on the city’s east side, where the children attended St. Jude School. Thus began Marlene’s acquaintance with the Adrian Dominican Sisters, a relationship that continued through her high school years at Dominican High.

Her career plans originally did not involve the convent; she wanted to go to nursing school. In her senior year, however, she began thinking of religious life, and with her long connection to the Congregation she never considered any other community.

Read more about Sister Marlene (PDF)


make a memorial giftMemorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221. 


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Avatar  Debora A. Murray last yearReply

Thank you for livestreaming the lovely Vigil for Sr. Marlene this evening. I live in the Detroit area and was unable to make the drive to Adrian due to family commitments, but wanted to participate. I appreciate that you mad it possible via the livestream.
I am grateful to have worked with Marlene for over 20 years at St. Joseph's/ Henry Ford Macomb Hospital. The gospel reading for Marlene's Vigil tonight was well chosen, as she truly was a light for many others, including me. Marlene's simple lifestyle and generous positive spirit was an inspiration to me. What I will remember most was the positive encouragement she consistently offered in every day situations. I can hear her say "You did that well." It seems small, but offering your support in love is never small. Marlene, you did that well. And you will be missed dearly!

Avatar  Marie (Gulding) Tippett last yearReply

I grew up with Marlene (Sister Karen Marie) and her sister Beverly. From family gatherings to just going to school our lives were entwined. We were like family and my children called her Aunt Marlene. She was a sweet, smart caring person with a wonderful sense of humor! She will be missed.

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