CHICAGO (CBS) — Two Franciscan nuns retired Sunday, after nearly 100 combined years serving at Corpus Christi Catholic Church in the Bronzeville neighborhood.

Sisters Marilyn Freking and Ann Rubly received a heart-warming sendoff as the Corpus Christi community said goodbye. Sister Marilyn served 53 years, and Sister Ann served 44 as teachers and caregivers at the South Side parish.

Sister Marilyn arrived at Corpus Christi just a couple months before President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. In the intervening 53 years, she and later Sister Ann taught countless students at the school and parish at 4920 S. King Dr.

Now the sisters are retiring to Iowa, and the parish held a mass to celebrate and say thank you.

“I know they’ve been thanking us today, but the truth is it’s been a gift for us to be here; a gift and a blessing. So I truly am grateful for all of that, and for the people. When you asked what keeps you here, it’s the people, that’s why we stayed,” Sister Marilyn said.

Following mass and a dedication of the church courtyard, Sister Ann – known for being reserved, but always accessible, found it hard to single out a favorite memory.

“Most everything, because it’s been the best years of my life, definitely,” she said.

Freking’s and Rubly’s retirements mark the end of Corpus Christi’s relationship with the Sisters of St. Francis of Dubuque Iowa and the Franciscans of the Sacred Heart Province, which has been affiliated with the mostly African American parish for 83 of its 115 years.