Up Close and Personal

Sr. Marian Patrice Leaf is a Franciscan from birth. Her parents, Dorothy and Edward, were secular Franciscans throughout their married life. Marian is the third of six children—four girls and two boys. The close-knit family lived in Upper Darby, near Philadelphia; her father co-owned a flooring business, and her mother was a busy stay-at-home parent. As a sociology student at Neumann University— then Our Lady of Angels College—Marian came to know the Sisters of St. Francis well. As she relates, “I noticed how approachable, down-to-earth, and joyful they were. Over the four years, I recognized something in their spirit that resembled something in my own: I felt an ‘at home-ness’ with them.” Understanding that she had found a spiritual home, Sr. Marian entered the congregation in January 1978, six months after her college graduation.

Sr. Marian’s early ministry as a sister of St. Francis included such contributions as coordinating the Stepping Stones Program in Immokalee, Florida, an educational program for pregnant teens and teen mothers; serving as a medical social worker at St. Joseph Hospital in Lancaster, Pennsylvania; becoming assistant director of childcare for St. Mary’s Home for Children in New Bedford, Massachusetts; and teaching special-needs students at the Sister Georgine Learning Center near Trenton, New Jersey. Also further advancing her experience and expertise, Sr. Marian earned a Master of Social Work from Marywood University, in Scranton, Pennsylvania.  READ