Sister Marietta Wethington retired in 2014, but serves as a contributing writer for Mission Advancement publications, as an information receptionist and in the powerhouse of prayer.
“One of the things that has impressed me the most about Sister Marietta is her personal spirituality. The delight in her eyes and the beauty in her face reflect the brilliance of God’s Spirit, which resides within her. When I am with Sister Marietta, I feel rooted in God and self-assured.”
Karen Siciliano of Springfield, Illinois, a participant in the contact program of the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph, made this statement shortly after completing the recent spiritual direction training course at Mount Saint Joseph Conference and Retreat Center. Sister Marietta was a member of the team conducting the course.
Such opinions of Sister Marietta Wethington, OSU, are not uncommon. For over a half century she has made love visible as she’s ministered to the faithful from children to adults, from Florissant, Missouri, to Bowling Green, Kentucky, from Owensboro to Lake Cumberland and beyond.
Sister Marietta was born on a farm near Clementsville, Kentucky, in Casey County, the oldest of eight children (five girls and three boys) born to Frank and Odelia Wethington.
She attended a one-room public school for eight years, receiving her Catholic education in Saturday morning religious ed classes at Saint Bernard’s in Clementsville, taught by Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph.
She attended Saint Bernard High School for three years before coming to Mount Saint Joseph Academy for her final year of high school as an Ursuline postulant. Sister Marietta can’t remember any definitive “calling” to religious life, but, she says, “I’m sure it must have come from my mother. I’m sure because she taught me to pray, taught me who God was. She was just a wonderful example of a very devoted mother.” She also credits two of her high school teachers with having a major influence in her decision to become an Ursuline sister — Sisters Carmelita Mattingly and Jane Frances Donahue, both deceased.
After beginning college courses at Brescia — majoring in elementary education — Sister Marietta began her teaching career at Immaculate School in Owensboro as a primary teacher. “I loved that ministry,” she recalls. “I not only taught children how to read, but to love to read. That was something my mother had taught me.”
She taught first and second graders for seven years at Immaculate. “And I loved preparing the children for Communion and Reconciliation,” she recalls. “I loved helping them to develop a prayer life of their own.”
Sister Marietta’s teaching career continued at Saint Columba in Louisville for three years (first graders), Saint James in Louisville for two years (second graders), Saint Paul in Princeton for two years (first through fourth grades), and Saint Pius Tenth in Owensboro for four years (first grade).
She moved on to Saint Joseph School in Bowling Green, where she taught fifth and sixth grade language arts for two years (the only years she was out of primary teaching) and first and second grade for two years. During this time she taught reading methods to teachers at Brescia during the summer months.