Up Close and Personal

Sr. Marietta Culhane lives the essence of Franciscan charism: willingly, enthusiastically responding to others’ needs with wisdom, kindness, caring, and determination to give her very best. Sr. Marietta grew up in Chicago, far away from her extended family in Ireland. Her parents had spent their childhood in Ireland before moving to San Francisco and then meeting and marrying there. When Marietta was a teenager, her paternal grandmother asked Marietta’s father to write to a cousin of his who had entered the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia. It was Marietta herself who would write regularly to this cousin, Sr. Rosaire Marie, who was living in Baltimore and who answered Marietta’s letters twice a year, at Christmas and Easter.

Throughout grade school and high school, Marietta’s education was entirely from the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-ofthe- Woods, Indiana. She recalls, “They were wonderful educators. I admired them and I certainly knew their history, but I didn’t think their lives were similar to the kind of life I could live.” She continues the story: “Then when I was in college (in prelaw at DePaul University), I had a decision to make. I was praying and asked, ‘What am I going to do?’ I thought, ‘I’ll do an act of charity. I’ll go and visit that nun in Baltimore.’” So Sr. Marietta wrote a letter asking to visit her cousin.