Editor’s Note: Radiate Christ Boldly
Who radiates Christ to you in your life? Whose love for their faith shines so brightly that they can’t help but pull others into God’s love? For me, there will always be the legendary Sister Martinetter Rivers, OLS.
Sister Martinette, or, as she called herself, “The Butterfly Queen,” walked into my life and took it by storm. With fire in her heart, passion in her faith and a concern for the elderly that she spread to all she encountered, Sister was not easy to ignore. And, she positively insisted I allow her to write for the Catholic magazine I edited at the time. Once she realized she had taught my husband in elementary school, that was it. She became a fixture, and, subsequently, an adopted grandmother into our family.
Sister Martinette would often sit with me and share stories from her past. The ones that left the strongest impression on me came from her years of ministering to orphans in Bangladesh. She described how children were tossed out on the side of the road, abandoned to neglect, poverty and death. The Sisters of Our Lady of Sorrows took them in. Ultimately, Sister Martinette helped many of those orphaned children find adoptive parents in the U.S. and maintained friendships with them as they grew up and accomplished amazing things.
When Sister Martinette came into my life, she spent most of her time ministering at nursing homes, to the delight of all who resided there.
Her light shone brightly, and, with her command of multiple languages, her order sent her to Italy to teach for an extended period. But she never forgot about us. In fact, for our first child’s baptism, Sister Martinette purchased her baptismal gown in Italy. When Sister finally returned state- side, my husband and I took our children – all four of them still quite tiny – to her convent to be loved and doted on by
the sisters. Once there, Sister Martinette walked us through her garden and gave our children gifts from Italy. She also joined us for dinner on occasion and even showed up for “Grandparent’s Day” at the kids’ school.
Sister was one of the shining examples in my life whose unwavering faith led me to convert to Catholicism. The way she loved God and firmly and passionately ministered to those around her, all while embracing those of different faiths with love and respect, radiated Christ boldly in my life.
Sister Martinette passed away unexpectedly nearly two years ago. Upon her death, all those whose lives she had touched shared their stories of how she made them laugh as she taught them (and, even intimidated them a little). To know her was to love her and to see Christ’s love radiated through her.
We dedicate this issue of The Catholic Telegraph to people like Sister Martinette – people who let Christ’s love shine brightly through them, without apology, to everyone they encounter.