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In memory of Sister Marietta Crahan

In memory of Sister Marietta Crahan - (24-05-2023)

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Benedictine Sister of Perpetual Adoration Marietta Crahan, OSB, died May 22, 2023.

She was born June 10, 1930, in Detroit to Gerardine A. (Cronin) and Bernard Earl Crahan. She was the second oldest of eight children, seven girls and one boy. Although baptized Mary Margaret, she was always called Molly until she received the name Marietta at profession.

 Molly was born with a large birthmark on her face. Her parent took her to the Shrine of Saint Joseph in Mount Royal, Canada, where Brother Andre, CSC was living. Brother Andre took Molly in his arms, blessed her and gave her mother some Saint Joseph oil, telling her mother to apply the oil to Molly’s face and to pray to Saint Joseph for two weeks. Molly’s birthmark disappeared.

The Crahan family moved a few times before settling in Peoria, Illinois, when Molly was in fifth grade. She attended Saint Mark’s School where she was taught by Dominican Sisters. She attended evening devotions and sang in the choir. There was a life-size crucifix in the church next to the communion rail. Of this she wrote, “I believe that was when and where I fell in love with Jesus Christ.”

Following grade school, Molly attended the Academy of Our Lady, taught by the Sisters of Saint Joseph. She spent time with her friends after school and in the evening at the Catholic Youth Center. The Center had been started by Monsignor Haas, a cousin of Benedictine Sister M. Callista Haas. She wrote, “I loved life and enjoyed my friends, never missed a party, picnic, or a high school prom.”

By her junior year, Molly and two of her friends considered the possibility of entering religious life. Molly won a partial scholarship to Fontbonne College in St. Louis, an offer she turned down because she had other plans. After high school graduation in June 1948, Monsignor Haas and his assistant, Father Jim Martin, arranged to drive the three friends to Clyde in August of that year. Molly’s decision became certain after she entered the Clyde chapel.

Molly entered the postulancy on Oct. 2, 1948. She entered the novitiate on Aug. 11, 1949. She made her first profession on Sept. 8, 1950, receiving the name Marietta after Saint Maria Goretti, who had been canonized that year. She made her final vows on Sept. 8, 1955.

As a novice and junior sister, Sister Marietta helped in the kitchen and then in the Correspondence Department. Her first transfer was to the monastery in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1956 where she managed the Correspondence Department. She also helped with the canning, learning how to can applesauce, juices and jellies. She spent some time at the Sisters’ San Diego monastery before moving back to Kansas City and then to Clyde, serving as portress and as a writer for Spirit&Life magazine. She served as Clyde prioress from 1977 to 1983. Upon completion of her term, she moved to St. Louis, then to San Diego. When she was elected to the General Council in 1990, she moved back to St. Louis.

During this time, she served as Secretary General, secretary to the Prioress General, and continued her involvement with the ongoing revision of our office books.

Because of her interest in liturgy, in 1973 Sister Marietta was asked to serve as chair of the Congregation Liturgical Commission. Her first task was to begin the compilation of the Congregation’s office books. To prepare for this work, she spent six weeks in private study at Saint Meinrad’s Archabbey. She later attended Saint John’s University for courses in liturgical studies, graduating with a master’s of arts degree in 1977. She wrote, “Although I have served generously and willingly in many departments in community, the greatest privilege for me has been to compile and revise our books of prayer for the Liturgy of the Hours. What a privileged sacred task this has been!”

In 2015 failing health caused Sister Marietta to move to Our Lady of Rickenbach. For the past several years, she had been unable to communicate except by her bright eyes and her smile.

Death came gently in the afternoon of May 22, 2023. Her blood sisters Kathleen Dotson and Eileen Broughton and a number of community sisters were with her.

Sister Marietta is survived by her sisters, Kathleen and Eileen, nieces and nephews, and her monastic family. Her funeral liturgy at Clyde and her burial in our Mount Calvary Cemetery were on May 24, 2023.

“May the ‘Liturgy of Life’ that we share always be an unceasing hymn of praise and adoration.”