Marion Flynn, corporate banker with a passion for community service, dies at age 69; ardent defender of women in the Catholic priesthood

There was no social justice or community service organization in her North Shore community with which Marion Flynn would not volunteer, defend or support.

It was the nature of a woman who felt called to the priesthood and who spent many years advocating for women to be ordained in the Catholic Church – an issue that continues to rock the Church.

After 33 years as a corporate banker, Ms. Flynn retired in 2007 as senior vice president of Bank of America, after serving as vice president of Continental Bank. But retirement was just a word for Flynn, who quickly embarked on a second career in community service.

Ms Flynn died on October 8 after battling Parkinson’s disease. She was 69 years old.

Marion Flynn moved to Chicago in 1974 to begin her banking career with Continental Illinois.
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“Above all, she would like to be remembered for her charitable work. It was important to her, ”said her only child, James Price, of her work with a myriad of nonprofits.

Ms. Flynn has worked with Meals On Wheels Northeastern Illinois / Meals at Home; YWCA Evanston / Rive-Nord; Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center; the Child Restoration Outreach Support Organization (CROSO) which educates street children in Uganda; the fair housing agency Open Communities; and United Way North Shore and United Way of Evanston.

“For me, I will always remember her for her patience,” her son said.

“She was giving to a fault, kind and generous. She was literally picking up strangers on the side of the road because it was raining, even though I told her it wasn’t safe. She just believed in giving back to others and that whatever you received was meant to be shared.

Born January 22, 1952 in Holbrook, Massachusetts, Ms. Flynn attended Catholic schools – Archbishop Williams High School in her hometown, then Newton College of the Sacred Heart in Newton Center, Massachusetts, where she received her BA in Theology and English in 1974.

Marion Flynn has been a member of St. Nicholas Church for over 30 years.

Marion Flynn has been a member of St. Nicholas Church for over 30 years.
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She moved to Chicago to begin her career at Continental and enrolled in the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, where she obtained an MBA in 1980.

A long-time resident of Evanston, she was a member of St. Nicholas Church for over 30 years. She has served over the years as the treasurer of the church; member of the parish council, the finance council and the festival committee; reception door, reader and reader trainer; and co-founder of the church’s LGBTQ ministry.

Like her hero, Dorothy Day – founder of the Catholic Worker Movement – Ms. Flynn believed in integrating social activism and Catholic religious traditions by helping the poor, combating social injustice and reforming social structures.

“Marion truly felt called to the priesthood – probably her entire life,” said Sister Christina Fuller, longtime director of religious education at St. Nicholas, who presided over Ms. Flynn’s memorial service on Wednesday.

“Marion met Dorothy Day at some point in her life, and Dorothy invited her to work with her. She said, ‘No, because I’m going to be a priest,’ Fuller said.

Marion Flynn, in the foreground, holds a sign “Stand Up Against Racism” during a demonstration.

Marion Flynn, in the foreground, holds a sign “Stand Up Against Racism” during a demonstration.
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“And Marion has always been a priest for us in St. Nicholas, in many ways. We are all called to be priests through our baptism, and she lived it completely in her life. She could not officially celebrate the Eucharist, but she made sure that the Eucharist happened wherever she was, among those with whom she was.

Ms. Flynn had been a member of the board of directors and treasurer of the association based in Washington, DC, Women’s Ordination Conference since 2013. And she was always looking to help her community, serving on the Evanston Parks and Recreation Council from 1983 to 1993 and as President of the Evanston United Way from 1999 to 2009.

In 2007, she joined the Frances Xavier Warde school as a development assistant. Then from 2011 to 2013, she held the position of Director of Development for Centraide North Shore.

Other work included chairmanship of the Connections for Abused Women and their Children (CAWC) Board of Directors from 1980 to 1986. And she was a member of the CROSO Board of Directors since 2009; and the YWCA, member of the steering committee since 2014.

Ms. Flynn was a strong supporter of the School District 65 EPA Equity Project. And for nearly five years, from 2013 to 2017, she delivered meals every week to closed places for Meals At Home.

Marion Flynn Flynn has served on the Board of Directors and as Treasurer of the Women's Ordinance Conference in Washington, DC.

Marion Flynn Flynn has served on the Board of Directors and as Treasurer of the Women’s Ordinance Conference in Washington, DC.
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She also loved softball and was the manager of the Evanston Girls Night Out softball team for over 20 years.

“She lived a life of service. She knew from an early age that she was called to be a priest. Although the institutional church did not recognize her calling, the rest of us watched her live that calling every day of her life, ”said best friend Eileen Heineman.

“She modeled inclusiveness in every fiber of her being and worked to transform the church,” said Heineman.

“She would like to be remembered as someone who loved to laugh, who would do absolutely anything for anyone, and as someone who understood the responsibility of those who were privileged to be. to be listened to, raising the voices and issues of those who often went unheard.

Besides her son, survivors include a granddaughter, Lula; and two sisters, Kathleen Flynn and Evelyn Mavilia.

A memorial service was held on Wednesday at Saint Nicholas Church. A funeral mass and burial are planned at Holbrook.

Marion Flynn, left to right, Sister Christina Fuller and Eileen Heineman

Marion Flynn, left to right, Sister Christina Fuller and Eileen Heineman
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Norma P. Rex

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