Sister Jerome’s Mission Names Kubik as Director

CANFIELD, Ohio – Sister Jerome Corcoran was ready for the question: What are her plans when she officially retires later this month.

Bermuda, Las Vegas “for a week at least,” and maybe Australia, she joked.

Sister Jerome, the indefatigable nun who turns 100 in April, named Maraline Kubik as the new director of Sister Jerome’s Mission effective Jan. 29 when she officially steps down from the ministry she founded in 2012 as Sister Jerome’s Poor.

The announcement took place Thursday during a press event at the Ursuline Center.

Sister Jerome’s Poor provides assistance with emergency expenses to help working-poor families and, through its Mission College program, provides help to college students with mentoring and expenses such as food, transportation and clothing.

Sister Mary McCormick, general superior of the Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown and president of the Ursuline Center board, said Sister Jerome approached her a few months ago and said she wanted to retire and “step back a bit” from full-time work.

“So we began to look for somebody who would be able to continue the good work that Sister Jerome has done,” McCormick said. Kubik had “the best mix of gifts” of the candidates they considered “both in terms of administration and in terms of understanding the needs of poor families and college students who are struggling a little bit through the college system,” she said.

“She really is going to be the one to help us move forward.”

Kubik’s background is in public relations and journalism. Most recently employed in the marketing department at Mercy Health Youngstown, she has worked for The Business Journal and The Vindicator.

“The basic need to carry on a mission of charity is a compassionate heart,” Sister Jerome said. “Anybody who mentions Maraline says she has a compassionate heart.”

Kubik said she doesn’t see herself as succeeding Sister Jerome. “First of all, no one could ever take her place so I am going to try the best I can to continue her mission and continue the good work that she’s been doing,” she said.

Kubik closely identifies with those Sister Jerome’s Mission serves but has a particular interest in the Mission College program. Successful college students typically have support from their families, both financially and in terms of guidance, she said. The students in the Mission College program often lack that help, not because their families don’t care but because their parents don’t have a college education and don’t understand all that going to college entails.

“These kids come from inner-city schools where they’re getting free lunch. All of a sudden they’re on a college campus – no free lunch, they pay for books,” she said. “There’s a charge for almost everything so they need help with very basic things – finding food on campus, having a gift card so they can buy lunch, maybe getting boots so they can walk across campus between classes in the winter, things like that,” she said.

Sister Jerome said once she steps down she will tutor inmates at Community Corrections Association Inc. to prepare them to pass the GED test. “You can’t sweep a parking lot without a GED or a high school diploma,” she remarked. “Years ago I tutored GED for 10 years and we had a great record of graduation.”

She also will keep in touch with the ministry she founded and “try not to take to many cruises,” she joked. She plans to make herself available to Kubik for help with fundraising “and anything that Maraline thinks of,” she added.

“I have a reputation in fundraising. You may have heard the stories,” she remarked.

“The program will continue to evolve” and continue to grow, Kubik said.

“Right now we have 12 students in the [Mission College] program. We all know that the need is much greater,” she said. “We’d like to include far more students but we want to be careful because we want to match them with very good mentors,” she said. “And we also need the funds.”

The ministry’s annual budget has been about $100,000 but needs $120,000 to $150,000 annually “to be able to run the programs that we want to run,” Sister Mary said. “So Maraline’s experience in PR work will help us with that and trying to generate some grants,” she said.

Pictured: Sister Mary McCormick, Maraline Kubik and Sister Jerome Corcoran.

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