Fr. Vianney Sipulski, O.F.M.

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Fr. Vianney Sipulski, O.F.M., a member of the Franciscan Friars of the Assumption B.V.M. Province, peacefully met Sister Death on Friday, July 12, 2019, at the Milwaukee Catholic Home. He was born in South Chicago, IL, on June 3, 1932, to Walter and Frances (Gorska) Sipulski and baptized with the name Chester at St. Mary Magdalene Church.

His childhood home was one of many visited by the Brother agents of Franciscan Publishers in Pulaski, WI, soliciting subscriptions to the Franciscan Message and Miesięcznik Franciszkański, 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.

After graduation in 1951, he was received into the novitiate on August 14, 1951, with the Franciscan Friars in Pulaski, and received the name, Vianney. Vianney was one of seventeen novices who made their first professions the following August, 1952, and then solemn profession in 1955. He was ordained to the priesthood on February 2, 1960.

In January of 1961, Fr. Vianney was sent to St. Bonaventure High School in Sturtevant where, for nine 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, Fr. Vianney moved into parish ministry where he served in a variety of parishes in the Green Bay Diocese, including Assumption B.V.M. Parish in Pulaski. He was later assigned as pastor of St. Augustine Church in Hillman, MI, and the mission church of Jesus, the Good Shepherd.

After suffering a stroke in 2005, Fr. Vianney 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, he retired to Queen of Peace Friary in Burlington. While there, Vianney could often be heard singing Polish songs from his past. He had a deep, rich voice and he sang with great gusto. Deteriorating health prompted a move to the Milwaukee Catholic Home, where he made is home for his final days.

The Funeral Mass was celebrated at 11:00 a.m. Monday, July 22nd at Assumption B.V.M. Church in Pulaski, Provincial Minister Fr. James Gannon, O.F.M. pressing, followed by burial in the Provincial Cemetery.