Thursday, February 16, 2023
Memorial Mass: 10:45 a.m.
Church of Our Lady of Loretto
Notre Dame, Indiana
Visitors are welcome; please adhere to mask and social distance guidelines while in the church.
You may view the livestreamed Mass on YouTube.
Read the memories shared at Sister Gladys Marie's funeral.
Wednesday, February 1, 2023
Prayer Service: 9:30 a.m.
Church of Our Lady of Loretto
Notre Dame, Indiana
Immediately followed by the Gathering to Receive the Body with Final Commendation
Sister Gladys Marie, CSC
(Laura Maureen Martin)
July 7, 1930–January 30, 2023
We share news of the death of Sister Gladys Marie (Martin), CSC, who died at 9:20 p.m. on January 30, 2023, in Saint Mary’s Convent, Notre Dame, Indiana. Sister Gladys Marie entered the Congregation from Price, Utah, on September 7, 1954. Her initial profession of vows took place on August 15, 1957.
Please join us in prayer for Sister as we renew our faith in the resurrected Jesus and strengthen our hope that all the departed will be raised to eternal life.
Sister Gladys Marie (Martin) once said, “If you want something badly enough, you can find ways of doing it.” Such zeal motivated Sister throughout her 92 years of life. Described as being full of vim and vigor, Sister Gladys Marie was a highly effective leader who instinctively knew how to bring ideas to fruition.
As a consecrated Sister of the Holy Cross for 65 years, she was a fervent advocate and servant. She understood health care and helped implement the Congregation’s health care system across the United States and cofounded life-changing services in Southern Maryland. Her sharp wit, quick smile and hearty laugh were appealing attributes in community life and ministry.
Laura Maureen Martin was born on July 7, 1930, to Edward Martin and Gladys (Bowcutt) Martin in the town of National, Utah. Named after the National Coal Company, the small town was developed to house coal miners, like Laura’s father, and their families. After mining operations ceased in 1938, Laura, her parents and four older siblings moved less than 15 miles away to Price, Utah. Her interest in religious life first stirred in elementary school when she was taught by the Daughters of Charity at Notre Dame School, Price. Inspired by a health course she took while attending Carbon High School, Price, she volunteered as a nurse’s aide at a local hospital. Laura was introduced to the Sisters of the Holy Cross when she enrolled at Holy Cross Hospital School of Nursing in Salt Lake City, Utah, following her high school graduation in 1948. Director of the school, Sister M. Raphael (McGrath), CSC, described Laura as a student nurse “full of vim and vigor.” Sister Raphael, who died in 1996, was a model of innovation. She helped introduce the hospice movement in the United States. Laura Martin became a certified registered nurse in 1953, working for a year at Price Hospital before entering the Sisters of the Holy Cross, Notre Dame, Indiana, on September 7, 1954. Upon reception of the holy habit, she became Sister Gladys Marie, in honor of her mother.
Sister Gladys Marie dedicated 30 years to health care ministry, which included serving as a nurse, assistant administrator and chief executive officer (CEO). Sister held a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana, and a master’s degree in hospital administration from Xavier University, Cincinnati, Ohio, conferred in 1957 and 1968, respectively. Throughout Sister Gladys Marie’s years in hospital administration, she brought positive change to several Holy Cross-sponsored hospitals. Saint Agnes Hospital, Fresno, California, became a leader in health care in the San Joaquin Valley under her direction as CEO for 11 years. Throughout her three-year term as CEO of Mount Carmel East Hospital, Columbus, Ohio, she helped transform and expand the health care system to include services such as a family practice center, medical pharmacy and nursing school. From 1970 to 1972, outside of her ministry in hospital administration at St. Mary’s Hospital, Cairo, Illinois, she regularly volunteered to help local people in need, such as migrants. Those who worked with Sister Gladys Marie admired her for her intuition, honesty and ability to make hard decisions with compassion.
After enacting change within hospital administration, Sister Gladys Marie felt a need to help people directly. She served as superior of the Congregation’s United States Eastern Region for two years before deciding to fulfill this desire. Along with Sister M. Michaeleen (Frieders), CSC, they traveled to Southern Maryland in 1989 to begin a new ministry they named Mary’s Song—for the Blessed Mother’s hymn of praise, the Magnificat. Together, they established Mary’s Song Center, a soup kitchen that offered services such as job counseling, and Health Partners, a pro-bono clinic that provided health care for those who were insurance poor. The two sisters changed many lives throughout their 13 years in Southern Maryland, and their hard work continues to impact those communities today. The book, Mary's Song, by Kathleen M. Brunton, gives a full account of this ministry undertaken in the sisters’ “retirement years.”
In 2003, Sister Gladys Marie moved to the motherhouse at Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame, Indiana. There she moved naturally to spirituality, facilitating vocation and discernment retreats at Mary’s Solitude for three years. From 2007 to 2014, she volunteered her time to the Latino community of South Bend, Indiana, through St. Adalbert Parish. Collaborating with La Casa de Amistad, South Bend, Sisters Gladys Marie and Michaeleen assisted Hispanic immigrants by helping to obtain clothing, housing, health care and other needs.
In 2014 Sister Gladys Marie transitioned to a ministry of prayer and presence at Saint Mary’s Convent, where she died on the evening of January 30, 2023. Poor health made it difficult for her to overcome a recent fall and its complications.
Once called the gourmet chef of soup kitchens, Sister Gladys Marie knew how to found and re-envision institutional ministries, plan programs and work with an underserved community to realize its full potential. Sister Gladys Marie was grateful for every opportunity to serve. She took special satisfaction in developing Mary’s Song in Southern Maryland with Sister Michaeleen, both friend and collaborator. Sister’s ministry, and the mission of the Sisters of the Holy Cross, continues to rely on its benefactors and God’s providence.
We invite you to donate to the Ministry With the Poor Fund in Sister’s name.
—Written by Madisen Toth, archivist
Sisters of the Holy Cross Archives and Records