Sister Suzanne helps staff members HANDle their stress, frustrations


Once a month, rotating mornings and afternoons, a mystery woman virtually unknown to students comes to Marian to give teachers hand massages for a couple of hours. This talented woman is Sister Suzanne Vandenheede, a Servant of Mary since 1952.

Sister Suzanne originally worked at Immanuel as a chaplain, where she acquired her hand massaging skills. “The hand massages were for the nurses who tended to the patients,” Sister Suzanne said. “We had a room where we could dim the lights and put on some music, and we always had cookies and herbal tea for them.”

Per the request of former Head of School Elizabeth Kish in 2005, Sister Suzanne started coming to Marian to give hand massages to teachers.

AH SrSuzanne handmassages - 10.jpg

Destressing before finals Sister Suzanne Vandenheede massage the hand of Ms. Ronda Motykowski, Dean of Student Affairs, the week before finals. anahingorani

“I’m pretty busy for the two hours I’m here! I really enjoy doing it [hand massaging] because they [teachers] like it so much. I wish I could offer it to students as well, but there are so many of them!” Sister Suzanne said.

Many teachers come to the teacher workroom on the days Sister Suzanne is at Marian. One of which is Mrs. Judy Turnquist, Marian’s secretary.

Although the last time Sister Suzanne was at Marian was the first time Turnquist had received a hand massage, she had plenty to say. “It’s so relaxing to sit and visit with Sister Suzanne. I love how she looks in your eyes and listens to you so well. I always feel special when I sit down in her chair,” Turnquist said.

Sister Suzanne is equally as happy to be at Marian as Marian is to have her here. “My favorite part about coming to Marian to give hand massages is the conversation I get to enjoy with the community,” Sister Suzanne said. “It amazes me how much everyone likes it! I plan on doing hand massages at Marian for as long as I can!”

Getting to know Sister Suzanne

AH SrSuzanne handmassages - 4.jpgQ: What’s one unique fact about you?

A: I’m the middle child of seven children! I have two older brothers, one older  sister, two younger brothers, and one younger sister.

Q: What’s your all time favorite song?

A: “You’ll Never Walk Alone” by Frank Sinatra

Q: What do you like to do in your free time? A: Read. I love the author Rachel Naomi Ramen. My all-time favorite book is “My
Grandfather’s Blessings” by Rachel Naomi Ramen.

Q: What are you most excited for in 2017?

A: The Pope is coming back to our country! We don’t know when, but I’m excited!

Q: Marinara or Alfredo sauce?  A: Marinara.

Q: Favorite actor?  A: John Wayne and Gary Cooper.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s