Paula Marie Mierle, SJ

04/18/1937

03/15/2024

Memorial Contributions

Servants of Jesus

821 W. Elm Ave

Monroe, MI 48162

Paula Marie Mierle, SJ, 86, died Friday, March 15th at St. Mary Hospital, Grand Rapids.

Paula was the fourth of nine children born to Marcus and Casimira (Kufta) Mierle in Muskegon, MI April 18, 1937. The family moved to Spring Lake Township when she was five.  Her education began in a one room schoolhouse before attending Grand Haven Senior High School where she graduated in 1955.

Drawn to the field of teaching, she began taking classes at Madonna University in Livonia Michigan where she met the Felician Sisters who taught there.  Impressed with their joyful spirit and dedication to living the gospel, Paula was drawn to join them.  She entered the community in 1957 and made her first vows in 1960 and her final vows in 1966.

Paula was a born teacher with a special love for the little ones, especially the 7 and 8 year old. She taught in Catholic schools in Detroit, Bay City, and Grand Rapids. Her creativity led to receiving the Walmart Teacher of the Year award and a nomination for the Disney Teacher of the Year.  As she would say, ‘If my health had not taken  a turn, I would have gone on for many years.”  She was led to minister in pastoral ministry at Holy Family, Sparta and Campus ministry at Ferris State University where she found great joy in walking with adults in their faith journey.

A key moment in Sister Paula’s life occurred in 1973 when she and a group of other members of the Felician Community felt the call to establish a new religious community.

The Servants of Jesus was founded under the auspices of the Archdiocese of Detroit.  Paula served her religious community, not only in leadership, but in sharing her many gifts of art, music, storytelling, poetry, and love of nature.

Due to a need for nursing care, Paula began living with the Dominican Sisters of Grand Rapids.  When that need was no longer there, she was invited to continue to live with the them.. Always a Servant of Jesus, she has been a vital life-giving presence among the Dominicans as she shared life in ministry, prayer and a deep commitment to justice.

Sister Paula Mierle was preceded in death by her parents, her sisters Monica Okkonen, Marcia (William) Beihl, Rita Briggs, her brother, Marc, and her nephews Todd Briggs and Steven Okkonen.  She is survived by her sister Joan (Art) Reeg, and her brothers Lawrence (Jane) Mierle, Gerald Mierle and Gregory (Shelley) Mierle as well as many nieces, nephews, grand nieces and nephews. And her sisters in community.

An Evening Prayer with Remembering will be held Thursday, March 21st at 7:00 p.m. with visitation from 5:30-7:00 p.m.

The Funeral Liturgy will be celebrated Friday, March 22nd at 10:00 with visitation from 9:00 a.m. All services will be held at the Dominican Chapel Marywood, 111 Lakeside Dr. N.E., Grand Rapids.

Burial will follow at a later time.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Servants of Jesus, 821 W. Elm Ave, Monroe, MI 48162.

Arrangements are under the direction of O’Brien-Eggebeen-Gerst Funeral Home.

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2 Responses

  1. Sr. Paula was “walking joy” for me, and I know as well for so many who knew her. She was (is) an important part of my story, when she was involved in music and liturgy at my home parish of St. Christopher’s in Bridgeport (Saginaw). Together with my parents she helped to make music there, and was among the very first to “mentor” me in using my musical gifts at Mass. She is the one who taught me Sebastian Temple’s song, “Prayer of St. Francis (Make Me A Channel of Your Peace,” and over the years has been a tremendous source of support, especially during some very difficult times during the past couple of years. She and I last emailed each other only a couple of weeks ago. I cannot believe she is “gone.” I know she is still here in our hearts. God bless her. I wish I could be there in person to celebrate with the Servants of Jesus, the Dominicans, and her family … but I will be watching on the stream! I will never forget her.

  2. Larry and Jane,

    So sorry about the loss of your sister Paula. Sending our sympathy and prayers.

    Marilyn and John Buikema

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