Who Is Cathy Cesnik’s Sister Marilyn? 'The Keepers' Casts Light On The Nun's Loving Family
The person at the center of Netflix's latest true crime docuseries is Sister Cathy Cesnk, a nun who taught at Archbishop Keough High School and had a profound effect on her students. Sister Cathy's mysterious death opens the doors to a dark, devastating underbelly of alleged abuse at Archbishop Keough, which The Keepers explores from the perspectives of Cesnik's family, her former students, and alleged victims of abuse at Archbishop Keough. While the series focuses on the lingering mystery of who murdered Cesnick, a lot of the series' time is dedicated to capturing the positive, empathetic spirit of Sister Cathy, and no one seems to have more kind things to say about the late nun than Cathy Cesnik's sister, Marilyn.
Marilyn appears first in Episode 6 of The Keepers, and immediately reminds viewers of the woman who is at the center of this tragedy. She begins sharing stories from their youth, and credits Sister Cathy with teaching her that "that unconditional love means that no matter what they do you're gonna love them. She had the ability to [love unconditionally], and I probably tested that y'know a lot and she never never wavered."
It's the loss of that unconditional love that makes Marilyn fight to bring those responsible for her sister's death to justice, even decades after she was murdered.
Marilyn has never gotten over the loss of her sister, and understandably so. In The Keepers, Marilyn described grief as, "Just [missing] somebody in your life. You miss not having that person there for all the important things that happen. If it's five minutes if it's 45 years, you still miss that person and you can still feel that loss."
Marilyn has spoken to publications in the past, such as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, all in the effort of spreading the word about the investigation into Sister Cathy's murder, but The Keepers is the most high-profile look at the case and Marilyn's involvement in it yet. As Marilyn Cesnik puts it, "All these years I wanted to know who killed my sister. All I knew was what I knew all these years, was that it was probably the wrong place the wrong time it was a random killing and the police had zero evidence ... I didn't know [that it could be something more than that]."
Although her sister's death has cast a shadow over her life, Marilyn still remembers the positive parts of their youth very fondly. She introduces herself in the documentary by telling an anecdote about pranking her sister by sneaking chocolate pudding into her shoes. Despite the pranks she pulled, Marilyn fondly remembers that "[Cathy] never ever got me back." It's these memories of Sister Cathy's kind-hearted nature that make The Keepers exceptionally heartbreaking at times, but that also drives those who miss her. As Marilyn herself says, "When Cathy died I said, 'You will not die as long as I'm alive. You will not die.' I'm not letting this go. I never came to peace. I shut up, but I never came to peace."