Sister Marian Piskurich, an Adorer of the Blood of Christ, died on Good Friday, April 3, 2015, at St. Anne’s Retirement Community in Columbia, Pa. She was 89 and had been an Adorer since entering in 1955.
She was born Helen Marie on Oct. 28, 1925, in Johnstown, Pa., and was the 11th child in her blended family. Her parents, Stephen Piskurich and Anna Pavicic, married after losing their first spouse. They were members of St. Rochus Croatian Church.
Helen Marie entered the Adorers of the Blood of Christ on Jan. 31, 1955 at St. Joseph Convent, Columbia, Pa., and became a novice on Aug. 12, 1955, receiving the name Marian. She professed first vows on Aug. 12, 1956 and final vows on Aug. 15, 1961.
She graduated from Johnstown Secondary School in 1945 and earned additional high school credits at St. Joseph Academy, Columbia, Pa., while concurrently studying at the Precious Blood Teacher Training Institute there. At Youngstown (Ohio) State University, she earned her bachelor’s degree in art education. She earned a master’s degree in art education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Sister Marian taught for 35 years. She taught elementary school at St. Teresa, Albany, Ga.; Assumption and St. Jerome, in Chicago; St. Joseph, Hartsville, S.C.; St. Francis, Lumberton, N.C.; Most Precious Blood, Rochester, N.Y.; Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Niles, Ohio; and St. John, Enhaut, Pa. She also taught art and English in various high schools including Lancaster Catholic, Lancaster, Pa.; Ryken, Leonardtown, Md.; Holy Name, Reading, Pa.; and St. Joseph Academy in Columbia, Pa.
In 1992, Sister Marian retired from teaching and served as chauffeur at St. Anne’s Retirement Community, Columbia, Pa. She fully retired in 1998 to St. Joseph Convent and began living ministry in later life, dedicating her time to prayer, art, and helping in many ways around the house. She moved to St. Anne’s Retirement Community, Annunciata Hall, in 2008, where she remained until she required more skilled care in 2012. She lived in the skilled care unit of St. Anne’s until her death at age 89.
Two portraits Sister Marian painted, one of Maria De Mattias and another of the Sisters in Niles, Ohio, walking to church in the pre-dawn, had prominent places at St. Joseph Convent. When Marian Hall was dedicated in 1965 as the new dormitory for boarding students at the Adorers’ St. Joseph Academy, Sister Marian created the Stations of the Cross for the chapel. Today, they grace the chapel at De Mattias Residence, the Columbia Center.
Sister Marian was a true artist and helped her students tap their own creativity.
She loved to sing and dance, and even in her retirement years at St. Anne’s, she would dance any time she had the chance and add her strong voice to many a song fest.
She had a free spirit and delighted in making people laugh. Often, in her later years, she was seen wearing floppy hats that brought smiles to all who met her. A sister recalled that she was always smiling, right up to the day she died.
Sister Marian was preceded in death by her parents and siblings. She is survived by many nephews and nieces.
Her body will be brought home to St. Anne’s at 10 a.m. on Thursday, April 9 for visitation and praying of the Rosary. Mass of Christian Burial, celebrated by Fr. Ernie Frantz, CPPS, will follow at 11 a.m., with burial in the convent cemetery.