Rev. Vianney (Chester) Sipulski, OFM
Chester Sipulski was born a native of South Chicago, Illinois on June 3, 1932 , to Walter and Frances (nee Gorska) Sipulski and baptized at St. Mary Magdalene Church on June 26th of that year.
Chester's home was one of many visited by the Brother agents of Franciscan Publishers in Pulaski, WI, soliciting subscriptions to the Franciscan Message and Miesiecznik Franciszkanski, monthly magazines printed by the friars of the Assumption Province. The Sipulski family also made several pilgrimages to Burlington, WI where they found a ready welcome. These encounters with the Franciscan Friars aroused Chester's interest and in 1948, he began his sophomore year of high school at St. Bonaventure High school and Minor Seminary, Sturtevant, WI. "Bona's" was a small school with just the right kind of environment that benefited a myriad of students over its 82 year existence. And Chester was one of them.
Chester graduated in 1951 and was received into the novitiate on August 14, 1951 with the Franciscan Friars in Pulaski, WI, receiving the name, Vianney. But this was to be a novitiate like none other. In October, the novitiate was moved to a newly acquired piece of property in Lake Geneva, WI. The 4-5 hour journey from Pulaski to lake Geneva was a short but enjoyable reprieve from the "cloister" that would become more isolated in Lake Geneva. Vianney was one of seventeen novices who made their first professions the following August 1952 and solemn profession in 1955.
Vianney was ordained on Feb. 2, 1960. Since the Ordinary of the Joliet diocese took ill, Stanislaus V. Bona, the bishop of Green Bay, WI diocese. ordained Vianney and his 6 classmates in Christ the King Seminary Chapel, West Chicago, Illinois.
In January 1961, Vianney was sent to St. Bonaventure High School in Sturtevant where for 9 years he taught history and religion. By the late 60's he was looking for a change in ministry. After discussing options with the Minister Provincial, Vianney moved into parish ministry where he served in a variety of parishes in the Green Bay Diocese. An opportunity for pastoral ministry opened up in the Gaylord, Michigan Diocese where Vianney was assigned pastor of St. Augustine Church, Hillman, Michigan and the mission church of Jesus, the Good Shepherd.
In 2005, following a stroke, he intended to retire. Although he was not severely incapacitated, it slowed him down and made him realize that the responsibilities and duties were simply too much to handle. After a brief stay in Pulaski, Vianney retired to Queen of Peace Friary, Burlington, WI.
While at Queen of Peace Friary, Vianney could often be heard singing Polish songs from his past. He had a deep, rich voice and he sang with great gusto. Time had taken its toll on Vianney, however. Struggling to stay in the moment, he faded into the past and found the present moment elusive.
Deteriorating health and memory issues caused the community to look at other options. Vianney was eventually transferred to the Milwaukee Catholic Home, Milwaukee, WI, where on Friday July 12, 2019 he peacefully met Sister Death.
Vianney died in the 87th year of his life, the 67th year of his religious profession and the 59th year of his priesthood.
Visitation at Queen of Peace Friary Chapel in Burlington, WI on Thursday, July 18, 2019 from 4:00 PM until 5:00 PM.
Additional services Monday, July 22, 2019 in Pulaski, Wisconsin where burial will also take place.
May the soul of Vianney and the souls of all the Faithful Departed, rest in peace. Amen