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At Your Service

“Des Plaines has a lot of heart,” according to Sister Clare Marie Kozicki, assistant director of development with the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth in Des Plaines.

The same could be said of Sister Clare Marie, a spirited nun that has dedicated herself to a life of service. She loves challenges and overcoming them. With this driven attitude she is a major personality in the Des Plaines community. Before choosing a life as a religious, she was headed to Hollywood to become an actor. A career as a performer was her first love; however, she was also offered excellent positions with two companies in her field of study. Even though all of these opportunities were in her reach, Sister Clare Marie said she instead “had a desire to serve in a special way.”

While the call to a religious life was stronger for Sister Clare Marie, her passions are visible through the work she has devoted her life to. Her creativity and love for people are a perfect match. “People energize me,” she said. She believes that in order to get things done, you need other people to help you: “There is no place where a volunteer is not needed or appreciated.”

One of Sister Clare Marie’s major roles has been serving as Developmental Director for the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth. During her term as Director her two main goals were to “make known our mission of who we are more than for what we do” and to bring her fellow sisters closer to the civic community. Her intention was to utilize these relationships to serve the people of Des Plaines.

Currently, Sister Clare Marie serves as a member of the Des Plaines Special Events Commission, a group of volunteers appointed by the Mayor and City Council to provide community-oriented events.

Through her role on the Special Events Commission, Sister Clare Marie was able to revive Friday Night Live, a free event that takes place three Fridays from June to July and features a plethora of concerts and musical entertainment. In resurrecting Friday Night Live, she decided to relocate it from its previous site to a spot she believed to be more conducive, Metro Square.

Sister Clare is interested in bringing people together, especially families. “The key is family and people. Whatever you do, you do it for others. Everyone is part of a family.”

It is clear that building relationships and helping people in a community to come together is something that this high-spirited nun was meant to do. “God has given me a lot of spunk.”

By harnessing this trait in all that she does, Sister Clare Marie’s talents, interests, energy and enthusiasm makes her someone that people are drawn to.

“The greatest gift is the gift of yourself.” Sister Clare Marie certainly gives of herself; however, she stated that “it’s is not the ‘what,’ it’s the ‘how’.” Meaning, that “what” a person does may not be the most important part of the equation, but “how” a person does it is the thing that may bring about the most change and have the greatest impact.

According to Sister Clare, “You have to have a willing heart. There is a lot of good in the world and you have to get excited about what is good. If you just act, you can move mountains if you have a willing heart.”

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