Sister Marietta Fritz
Saginaw, MI 

…Jesus Always Takes us Back

She thought she could do it. She thought she could live the new, clean life — the life Sister Marietta Fritz had helped her hammer out. And that she could live the old life, too, or parts of it. A reefer on the street. A line of cocaine. Hanging with ‘friends’ who emerged in the night. Only a hit off the reefer, she thought. Only a snort of cocaine. Only a few hours – home by midnight, she told herself.

Then the hit became more hits, and the cocaine an obsession, and the few hours an all-nighter waking up in strange places. But again, at thirty-four years old, April was at the bottom. She lied, she shoplifted, she stole from her grandmother. The monkey was on her back.

She was re-arrested, thrown in a fluorescent-lit room — strangers, bunks, one-way mirrors with guards on the other side. Thrown there with no one any longer caring to get her out. So she thought.

But Sister Marietta gently corrected her. “Jesus always takes us back,” she said. 

Sister Marietta and a woman on the pictureAnd so, for a second time, and upon her release, April was again accepted into one of the fourteen half-way houses in the Emmaus House ministry, a ministry begun and managed by Sister Marietta. She promised anew to come clean from drugs by participating in a 12-Step Program. And to either pursue more education, participate in job training or find a job. And to contribute sweat equity for the upkeep of the house.

“This time,” April says, “I stopped playing games with myself. I started attending group therapy sessions, going to Narcotics Anonymous meetings every day, working really hard. And I started praying again.”

All the women assisted by Sister Marietta — and by Emmaus House — have just emerged from prison or prison rehab. And they number in the hundreds. They have suffered the ravages of drugs, abuse, violence and lifelong subjugation.

But as a testament to God’s love, a Sister of Notre Dame’s determination, and the resilience of the human spirit — they have persevered and prevailed.

April – now – has a job. She’s been off drugs for three years. As Sister Marietta extended a hand of Christian charity to her, now does she also offer a hand to others, others who live the dark life she once lived, and who want to be freed.

Christ’s love is like that. Sister Marietta’s love is like that. It is a love that channels through others, and is multiplied over and over.

Sister Marietta at Emmaus House pictureUpdate: Sister Marietta Fritz moved to Cincinnati, Ohio awhile ago. She volunteers with Venice on Vine and Hamilton County Jail in Cincinnati, Ohio.