Northern Illinois Food Bank Founder Sister Rosemarie Burian dies at 83

GENEVA, Ill. (WLS) -- Wheaton Franciscan Sister Rosemarie Burian, who founded the Northern Illinois Food Bank, has died. She was 83.

The food bank, which is among the largest in the country, announced Wednesday that Sister Rosemarie died peacefully on Sunday, September 22.

More than 35 years ago, Sister Rosemarie founded the Bethlehem Food Bank in Carol Stream, which eventually became the Northern Illinois Food Bank. Sister Rosemarie moved on to other work in 1986, but she continued to serve on the organization's Emeritus Board.

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It was 35 years ago when Wheaton Franciscan Sister Rosemarie Burian founded what was known as the Bethlehem Food Bank at 170 Easy St. in Carol Stream.

Northern Illinois Food Bank spokeswoman Jennifer Nau said Sister Rosemarie's passion was to help the "hidden poor" of DuPage County.

Those who remember her said she fought for years against the stigmas of hunger and poverty.

"Sr. Rosemarie was a gentle force, inspiring everyone she met to action by serving the needs of others: if not us, who? If not now, when? If not for the kingdom, why?" said Jim Truesdale, fellow Emeritus Board member and president of the first Board of Directors, Bethlehem Center. "We feel privileged to have known her and to have been involved in the formation of the Food Bank and continue to be influenced by her every day."

Julie Yurko, the food bank's president and CEO, said Sister Rosemarie's legacy is "the power of deep caring and love for one's community, and that she loved people and trusted God."
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