Sister Carolyn is a native of Lisle, Illinois. She grew up in town here on Walnut Avenue, one of seven children of Joseph and Catherine Sieg. She was the baby of the family and her mother used to call her the “joy of my life”. Sister Carolyn attended the local elementary school, St. Joan of Arc, where she was taught by the Benedictine Sisters. She recalls from her childhood that the Sisters were such gentle, fun-loving, prayerful women and she fell in love with the order. She reflects now that these teachers from her youth were responsible for her vocation.
Sister Carolyn’s family maintained a tradition of service. Young Carolyn found herself spending her free time at the parish, in the parish school and with the Benedictines. She attended Sacred Heart Academy and entered the community in her teens. She continued her education with an undergraduate degree in education from St. Mary of the Woods and a masters in Administration from St. Thomas in St. Paul.
Sister Carolyn put her education studies to good use in elementary schools in Fort Worth Texas Chicago and Cicero, Illinois. She taught every grade from first through eighth with the exception of second grade. This training served her well, indeed, when she was called by her Prioress to accept the job of principal at her childhood elementary school, St. Joan of Arc – at the ripe old age of 26!!
Sister Carolyn says she reflected on the opportunity, decided that St. Joan of Arc had gifted her with her vocation and she needed to give back to that beloved school. She took the job and has been there ever since – 38 years of leadership that has seen the school to 750 students, preschool through 8th grade, and one that now offers extended daycare and summer school. Sister Carolyn loves her work and her school is her passion. She sees her life as continual journey. She likes to describe herself as a perpetual student, attending education and professional development opportunities every year, as she expects of her staff.
In community now for over fifty years, Sister Carolyn has served several terms on the Monastic Council, the Trustee’s Committee, the Finance Committee and has recently joined the Villa St. Benedict Board of Directors. She believes the community’s decisions regarding the co-sponsorship of Villa St. Benedict have been wise and has allowed the Benedictine Sisters to direct their own future. She sees the Sisters’ ministry to the elderly as enriching and is looking forward to the completion of the renovated, smaller, more intimate monastery. During the commotion of the construction and temporary living quarters in one of the Sisters’ duplexes, Sister Carolyn often reflects with comfort on the following:“Be still and know that I am God.”