2019 Jubilarian – Marietta Murphy

Sister Marietta Murphy grew up in Buffalo, N.Y., until her parents passed away shortly after she turned 14 years old.

As a result of her parents’ death, Sister Marietta came to Detroit to live with her Aunt Dora and Uncle Joe; her three siblings lived with other relatives. During her time in Detroit, Sister Marietta went to St. Catherine School and was taught by IHM Sisters. She says, “I always wanted to be a sister. When I was a little girl in school I used to play school and put on the habit.”

Sister Marietta had loved the Mercy Sisters who had taught her in grade school, and in eighth grade she proclaimed her desire to become a sister during a vocation day. She recalls a poem she wrote for her eighth-grade graduation. “Finished at last, got my diploma. For a wonder I passed. Commencement all over, class colors unfurled, and here I am a graduate launched on the world. Someday, Sisters of Mercy, I may be one of you.”

She did not become a Sister of Mercy because she fell in love with the IHM Sisters and she liked their blue habits. Sister Marietta joined the IHM community right after high school but left after six months; it was not the right time for her. After returning home, she went to secretarial school. She lived at home during this time and felt she grew up and realized what she wanted to do. She returned to the congregation about a year later.

Her first mission was at St. Joseph in Dexter, Mich. After five years, Sister Marietta taught at St. Peter Claver in Mobile, Ala., and then taught at the Hall of Divine Child. She also taught at St. Gregory and St. Francis de Sales in Detroit and ministered as principal, first at St. Mary, Mt. Morris, Mich., and then at Holy Name in Birmingham, Mich., where she served from 1966-1975. She made such a difference to Holy Name School and parish that “Sister Marietta Day,” commemorating her 25th anniversary of final vows as an IHM, was held in November 1971. She went on to teach American history at Immaculate Heart of Mary High School in Westchester, Ill., for four years.

Sister Marietta earned her master’s degree and then served as rector at Badin Hall at Notre Dame University. She ministered within the IHM Development office as director, assistant director and as a Development volunteer following her retirement.

Sister Marietta’s greatest joy since joining the community is having the opportunity to serve the Church and “just being an IHM Sister.” She also appreciates “having had the privilege to teach so many children.”