By: Dominique Johnson
In the summer of 2006 Sr. Marie Lucek, O.P. arrived in Juneau to work at the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Twelve years later as she prepares to leave Juneau, Sr. Marie says, “I’m leaving Juneau a better person, than when I came.”
When she began working at the Cathedral her main role was to coordinate the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) program. Sr. Marie joked that coordinating the program wasn’t a full-time job, but Father Thomas Weise found tasks to keep her busy.
In her 12 years in Juneau one of her greatest joys was accompanying people on their faith journey through RCIA at the parish. She added that the ministry that has been the most meaningful was funeral ministry. Sr. Marie explained that in this ministry she was there to accompany families as they grieved and to help the family celebrate the lives of their loved ones. “I was so glad that I could be a presence with the people,” she shared, “some of the strongest connections I have with people, are because of funerals.”
Her ministry wasn’t limited to the Cathedral, Sr. Marie also traveled to the missions in Tenakee Springs and Gustavus to celebrate Sunday communion services in the absence of a priest. She also led women’s retreats in Sitka and Petersburg.
When asked about what she will miss most about southeast Alaska Sr. Marie responded, “The people. Not the weather.” She shared how the people and the community are different than other places she’s lived because they go out of their way to help others.
As for the Cathedral parish, Sr. Marie will miss worshipping with the parishioners at Mass. She said she has worked for large parishes in New York and Washington, D.C, but the parish in Juneau was very special. “It was a blessing to worship with this community, because of their wonderful participation in the Mass,” she added, “It was a real gift and blessing, because that doesn’t happen at every parish.”
After she leaves Juneau, Sr. Marie will head to California to assist her sister who is recovering from a bone marrow transplant. After her time in California she will return to the mother house of the Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa in Wisconsin.
If you would like to stay in contact with Sr. Marie, you can email her at email@example.com.