(born Roslee Elizabeth Fritz)
May 3, 1942 – August 12, 2023
(Note: Sister Marietta wrote her own memorial in 2017. She framed it in the context of a poem that was dear to her heart, source unknown. The verses appear in italics throughout her text. Additional comments will be added below her signature below. Marietta wrote:)
Lord, I’m You and You are me.
It’s Your love, Lord, that let me be.
I was born the third of seven children to Carrie and Edwin Fritz. Shortly before I was born, Carrie and Edwin moved from their southern Indian farm to Cincinnati, Ohio. My father came to Cincinnati to work in a war plant, thereby preventing his being drafted into the army (1942). Our family was very religious and we went to church whenever church had church. For example, while growing up I never got to hear the end of the Lone Ranger, the ‘Hi Ho Silver”, because I had to run into the church to be on time for the Sorrowful Mother Novena, also always on Friday nights. My parents really struggled to live their faith and to pass it on. We sometimes called my father Saint John, because he spoke to us so often about love. My parents were compassionate, loving, caring, generous, reliable, very religious, hardworking, responsible, and honest. Who could ask for more!
I attended Notre Dame schools from grades 1 through 12, and was blest that even my subsequent degrees were from Catholic colleges. My Catholic schooling fertilized the seeds planted in me at home.
Lord, I love You, and You love me.
I’m the You that the world can see.
I taught school excitingly for 18 years, always visiting a jail or prison wherever I landed. Then, leaving formal teaching behind, I went to Rich Street, than our semi-retirement home, to cook. (Cooking’s a lot easier than teaching – the potatoes stay right where you put them, and the lasagna never says, ‘But I don’t want to be lasagna.’) Finally, in 1984, I became the full time Catholic jail Chaplain at the Saginaw County Jail in Saginaw, Michigan. Two of the most important things in my life, that helped me wherever I was and enabled me to do what I was called to do, no matter what, are my 50-some directed retreats and my spiritual directors through those same years. I have been blest.
No more I, it’s always We,
Making love, setting free.
While working at the jail, I, with Sister Shirley Orand, started Emmaus House. I found my niche!! Emmaus House was a home for women coming out of jail/prison/rehab. I loved being at Emmaus House, seeing how God works, learning more about God, people, life, and myself, and watching so many women begin new lives. Those who came to Emmaus were often family-challenged, so I became mom/grandma to many. I spent 29 years with my women, - loving, living, eating, crying, praying, celebrating, etc., with them. I loved them all with God’s own love. And, Emmaus House used all of my gifts and some that I didn’t even know that I had. God was always alive and well at Emmaus.
Then, in 2016, I returned to Cincinnati, - enjoying more time to sleep, more prayer time, more time to read, more enriching opportunities, and more family time. Even my legs grew stronger, regularly walking 100 foot hallways and three flights of stairs. And, I was still able to be with my women at the Hamilton County Jail, and as a volunteer at Venice on Vine, a job training/pizza shop.
Now I am Love, and Love is me,
Happy together in the Trinity.
I have gone now to a place where someday you, too, shall go. All that remains here is the love that I left behind. And, I thank my family and friends, the S.N.D.’s, and my Emmaus House family, for the love which they have shared with me.
Until we meet again in love,
One of the things that Marietta does not mention is the book written about her: Sister Marietta, Saginaw’s Saint by Joan & Craig Douglas that tells the story and contributes to the ongoing ministry of Emmaus House. Another thing Marietta does not mention is the long list of honors she received for her endless ministry to others, from a scholarship in her name set up by former students in gratitude for how she educated them for life to city, state and national recognition for her service to others. There were two honors that held extra meaning for Marietta. One was the St. Julie Billiart Award she received in 1990. For Marietta it affirmed her living St. Julie’s value of serving those most abandoned. The other was the ATHENA Award she received from the Saginaw Chamber of Commerce in 2009. It recognized the creativity, initiative and collaborative spirit Marietta brought to improving the quality of life for the women at Emmaus House while actively assisting residents in realizing their full potential.
Trained to teach Physics and Math, she excelled at working with the general level students. Marietta was a natural problem solver with a knack for figuring out how to make abstract concepts concrete and applicable in daily life. These skills, combined with her deep belief that all things are possible with God and her compassionate heart, fueled the positive impact she had on her students, those she worked with who were incarcerated, and those she accompanied as they rebuilt their lives at Emmaus House and Venice on Vine. Marietta found the goodness of God in each person she met and poured her energy into helping each find and embrace their potential as a beloved child of God.
Marietta’s community members also experienced her deep faith and practical approach to life. There was never any question about where she stood on an issue, and Marietta could be counted on to call her Sisters back to our core values. At the same time, she was interested in each person, would take the time to listen, was a great conversationalist, and appreciated the smallest kindness. Marietta loved to walk, always enjoyed baking and cooking, relaxed with word puzzles, liked to play scrabble and cards, enjoyed live concerts and country western music, loved spending time with people and loved the solitude of her prayer time. She felt one of the biggest blessings in her life was the fact she enjoyed each ministry she was called to do. It is also clear that her prayer was the source of energy that enabled her do so much for so many. Marietta continued serving in any way she could for as long as she was able. That included volunteering to be part of a new community that formed in Cincinnati to support the novitiate and formation programs for the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.
Her family was Marietta’s first community, and she stayed close to her family throughout her life. Her family planted in her the drive to use her gifts to help others. They were her first role models for loving others. Throughout her life, they supported Marietta’s deep desire to serve those most in need and welcomed Marietta’s bringing people to them who needed extra help. She loved being with her family and looked forward to vacations with her sisters, family gatherings large and small, and watching new generations grow into wonderfully gifted individuals. Her beloved brother preceded her in death, but Marietta had the grace of the company of her sisters, as well as her Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, as she completed her journey to new life with our Good God. As she slipped away early the morning of August 12, the Psalm response for the Mass echoed her faith: "I love you, Lord, my strength." (Psalm 18:2)
As we, her Sisters, family and many friends, celebrate Marietta’s life, we thank God for the gift of Marietta. We thank God for all the many ways she made God’s goodness known to each person she met. We rejoice with her as she moves into eternal life. We also remember words Marietta so often said: “There's no limit to the goodness of God. It's not conditional.” It is so fitting that in the Gospel reading for August 12 we heard Jesus tell his disciples: “Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20) Marietta certainly had the faith in God’s unlimited goodness to move mountains. We ask her prayers for us that our own faith may deepen so we can move the mountains we encounter.
- Roslee Elizabeth Fritz (Sister Marietta)
- Born May 3, 1942, in Cincinnati, Ohio
- Parents: Edwin P. Fritz (born in Siberia, Indiana) and Carolyn Kessens (born in Siberia, Indiana)
- Siblings: Mary Ann Engel, Edwin Fritz, Sr. Delores Fritz OSB, Helen Welter, Cathy Honsaker and Julie Harmeyer
- Baptized May 17, 1942, at St. James Church, Wyoming, Ohio
- Confirmed May 14, 1954, at St. James of the Valley Church, Wyoming, Ohio
- Entered September 8, 1960, at Mount Notre Dame
- First Profession: August 13, 1963
- Final Profession: August 13, 1968
- Mount Notre Dame High School, Reading, Ohio, 1960
- Bachelor of Arts in Math from Our Lady of Cincinnati College, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1965
- Master of Science in Math from the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana, 1972
- 1965-1972 Julienne High School, Dayton, Ohio
- 1972-1978 Bishop Hartley High School, Columbus, Ohio
- Summer, 1978 Teacher for Workshop Way at Xavier University, New Orleans, Louisiana
- 1978-1983 Chaminade-Julienne High School, Dayton, Ohio
- 1983-1984 Foods Manager/Cook, Rich Street Convent, Columbus, Ohio
- 1984-1992 Catholic Chaplain, Saginaw County Jail, Saginaw, Michigan
- 1987-2002 Co-Director of Emmaus House, Saginaw, Michigan
- 2002-2016 Executive Director of Emmaus House of Saginaw, Inc., Saginaw, Michigan
- 2016-2022 Volunteer, Venice on Vine and the Hamilton County Jail, Cincinnati, Ohio
- 2023: Ministry of Prayer and Presence, Mount Notre Dame Health Center, Reading, Ohio
Died August 12, 2023, at Mount Notre Dame Health Center, Reading, Ohio
Sr. Kim Dalgarn SNDdeN
August 15, 2023
(The book, Sister Marietta, Saginaw’s Saint, can be purchased through the Emmaus House website.)