Sr. Martha


My name is Sister Martha—I was born into a small town Catholic family in 1942, the oldest of eight children. We lived right next door to our Parish Church and School, so daily Mass and a Catholic education was a gift. For Christmas of my Junior Year in high school, my parents gave me a copy of the autobiography of St. Therese, THE STORY OF A SOUL. I knew my parents would be pleased to have one of their children called to religious life, but my Mother wan’t expecting me to be drawn to Carmel and the cloister!

The best gift I gave my friends, in my quiet way, was to pray for them. So I seemed to connect with St. Therese on that aspect of the Carmelite charism.

I chose Mother’s Day to tell my parents of my decision. On the weekend following Graduation I visited the Louisville Carmel. The Prioress graciously spoke with me at length and then had to tell me that their community had reached the quota of 21 Nuns. 

I am Sister Martha of Jesus and my motto is taken from the Gospel of the Transfiguration


Each day He calls me to "look up and see only Him," to "listen to Him" and "abide in His love." 


She felt my drawing to Carmel to be sincere and encouraged me to contact other Carmels nearby. Terre Haute responded first and asked me to come for a get-acquainted visit. Thinking me to be a mature oldest-child, I was accepted to enter in October!

If I came to pray for others, my formation pointed me to Christ- Christ and His Mysteries in the Liturgical Year, Christ served in my Sisters in the many practical ways for someone mechanically inclined.

The artist designs it, and I try to print it in ink on paper or build it into a cabinet; or I mow the lawn and create a prayerful space of beauty for my Sisters.


After the Council, there was a movement to involve more of the community in the formation and studies of the postulants and novices, and to draw out their leadership qualities. Thanks to the many conferences, retreats and books that were centered on Biblical themes we were given the latest in biblical studies. And I took advantage of all of this; and it gave me something to share with the nuns at Recreations. I guess that was why I was asked if I would be willing to give scripture classes to the novices, since I had shown so much interest in the topic.

When our Indian Carmelite chaplain was studying for his Doctorate in Education, he was asked to give the Sisters, involved in Formation Classes, some input on how to teach and plan a Course of studies. That was most helpful! We learned a lot.


Then circumstances in our country and economy opened the possibility and necessity to plan to put in a garden on our new field south of the monastery. We not only prepared the land for a garden, but also an orchard of first 20, then 25 fruit trees. I was asked to learn to care for the trees, which also involves pruning, training, harvesting, feeding and spraying for diseases and pests. It has become a community project, especially the harvesting and canning and freezing of fruits and vegetables. 

All these various learnings and projects were crowned in the Fall of 2011 with a grand Golden Jubilee celebration of my 50 years of consecration to the Lord and His Church in Carmel. It was a specially joyful occasion to give thanks to the Lord for his love and mercy, shared with my dear sisters, family, friends and benefactors.