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Sr. Marie Shields

Educator, pastoral minister

Sister of Notre Dame de Namur Marie Shields, 81, died Dec. 31, 2019. She was in her 64th year of religious life.

A native of Chicago, Sister Marie attended St. Ferdinand Parish and Notre Dame High School for Girls, where she was educated by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. She entered religious life in 1955 and taught for 14 years in parish schools in Ohio.

She then dedicated 51 years of service to the church in Columbus, Ohio, before returning to Cincinnati, Ohio, in the ministry of prayer in 2019.

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Fr. Brian John Prunty

Educator, physician assistant

Norbertine Father Brian John Prunty, 83, died Jan. 4.

Born in Wisconsin, he discerned his call to priesthood while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps after high school. In 1956, he enrolled at St. Norbert College and entered the Norbertines a year later. He professed simple vows in 1959, solemn vows in 1962 and was ordained in 1965.

During the 1960s and 1970s, he taught at schools in Wisconsin, Michigan and Chicago, including St. Willibrord Catholic High School in Chicago. He served as pastor at St. Willibrord Parish and became president and chief administrator of the high school.

In 1983, Father Prunty worked as a physician assistant at the Cook County Jail hospital in Chicago and ministered at various Chicago parishes. His medical skills and passion for diversity led him to more than 20 years of work there. He also volunteered at a neighborhood free clinic.

He then joined the Norbertine mission on the Napo River in Peru. Three years later, Father Prunty returned to Chicago and resumed his ministry at the Cook County Jail hospital.

In 1995, he became associate director of formation and house superior at the Holy Spirit House of Studies in Chicago, while serving on the Abbot’s Council, the order’s personnel board and as a member of the St. Norbert College Board of Trustees.

He became pastor at St. Norbert College and house superior at St. Joseph Priory, De Pere, Wisconsin, in 2002. He continued to teach at the college until 2010. He retired to St. Norbert Abbey in 2014.

Father Prunty is survived by two sisters, Jane Schermitzler and Margaret Klegin.

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Fr. Simon Lefebvre

Educator, parish priest

Viatorian Father Simon P. Lefebvre, 92, died Jan. 13 at the Viatorian Province Center in Arlington Heights.

Born in Quebec, Canada, Father Lefebvre made his first vows in Montreal in 1946, his final profession in 1956 in Arlington Heights and was ordained the same year in Chicago.

As a Viatorian, he taught in Peoria, Illinois; Las Vegas; Quebec; and California. He also taught at the secondary school and university levels in Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Father Lefebvre spent the rest of his ministry in parish work in California.

He moved to the Viatorian retirement residence in 2016.

Father Lefebvre is survived by his brothers, Jean and Louis, and his sisters, Jean Coolins and Lena Baker.

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Sr. Jan Brynda


Sinsinawa Dominican Sister Jan Brynda, 84, died Jan. 23 at Advocate Christ Medical Center, Oak Lawn.

Born in Chicago, Sister Jan made her first religious profession in 1955 and her perpetual profession in 1958. She taught for 17 years and was principal for seven years and educational supervisor, instructor and consultant for 25 years. Sister Jan ministered as a pastoral associate for 12 years and director of adult faith formation for three years. She served in Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana.

In the Archdiocese of Chicago, Sister Jan served as education consultant for Mercy Home for Boys and Girls (1991-1993); pastoral associate at St. Jane de Chantal Parish (1993-2000); and director of adult faith formation at St. Benedict Parish, Blue Island (2000-2003). She ministered at Dominican University, River Forest, in the School of Education as an academic advisor and adjunct instructor (2003-2012) and supervisor of student teachers (2003-2008) as well as at the Sr. Mary Nona McGreal Center for Dominican Historical Studies as a volunteer (2012-2020).

She is survived by a sister, Dominican Sister Eileen Brynda.