Sr. Marietta Russell – 75 Years
A native of Baltimore, Sister Marietta says that as a teenager she knew she wanted enter a religious community, but didn’t want to teach school. “I would go crazy in a classroom all day!”
Her pastor asked her to help some Sisters who were teaching religion in the inner city. “They were Mission Helpers,” recalls Sister Marietta, “and I thought they were wonderful. So I knew then that I wanted to join them.”
Her early ministry took her to both inner cities and rural areas in Virginia and South Carolina, where she worked with sharecroppers, “the poorest of the poor.”
For 30 years, Sister Marietta was affiliated with the Diocese of Pittsburgh, where she served as the director of Family Life Program and Counseling. She trained parents to teach religion to their children and create a Christian atmosphere in the home. She traveled throughout the diocese, visiting parishes and parishioners in their homes.
She “retired” from her Pittsburgh ministry in 1999 because, she says, “I was told to take time to smell the roses, before I was pushing up the daisies.” But her idea of retirement was to return to ministry in Baltimore’s inner city as a volunteer at the Tri-Parish Catholic Community where she was part of an outreach program that taught sewing skills to the women and girls of the parish and mentored young people who were emotionally challenged.
Sister Marietta holds a degree in Psychology from Loyola University Maryland and a Master’s Degree in Psychology and Theology from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.