Sister Marian Mullen, RSM is a well-known face around Trocaire College–she’s worked at the college for almost 20 years out of the last 28, first as Dean of Students and then as Coordinator of Academic Advisement.
She joined the Sisters of Mercy in 1963 at the age of 18, living at the Mercy Center in Buffalo as she took classes in theology and education. She eventually earned an associate’s degree in elementary education from what was then Sancta Maria College in 1967 (that same year, the college changed its name to Trocaire).
Sister Marian went went on to get her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Medaille College and then a master’s degree from Buffalo State College. Over the years, she taught at several Catholic elementary schools, then worked teaching new Sisters entering the order. Then, for about four years, she acted as spirituality coordinator for St. John the Baptist School in Kenmore, one of her favorite positions.
“I wasn’t confined to a classroom–I worked with everyone, from kindergarten to eighth grade,” she said. “I helped develop programs for them, planned class liturgies … you could be as creative as you liked, and it was a lot of fun.”
As of Sept. 1, Sister Marian has taken on a new, part-time role at Trocaire: Coordinator of Global Achievements Project. She is examining how to make Trocaire more accommodating to students who speak English as a second language, and what the college needs to do to fill in the gaps of support so they are better able to find success here.
We sat down with Sister Marian to ask her a few questions, just in time for Mercy Week 2017. Read on for her answers!
How did you know you were being called to be a sister?
I didn’t really know for sure. At the time it was just something I knew I needed to do; I needed to try it out and see. But once I started, I never left.
What has been your favorite part of working at Trocaire over the years?
The students–definitely the students!
What part of the Mercy Mission/Critical Concerns do you hold most dear?
Education, for sure– it was and is a big part of the mission of the Sisters, and I knew I wanted to teach. The actual Critical Concerns didn’t come until more recently, after the individual communities came together and formed the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy in 1991. But of the critical concerns, I am most passionate about the environment. I highly value creation–I am awed by it and how things came to be and they continue and exist. So to see how humans are really changing the normal patterns really concerns me.
What would your advice be to a student or other layperson who wanted to “Make Mercy Real” in the world today?
It’s alleviating something for someone else, but the basis of it all is taking the time to notice what’s missing for someone else–you’re never going to be able to respond to something you don’t see. It could be something as simple as a smile or a hello, an acknowledgement that that person is a human being. It can become much more, but that’s all it takes to start.