Home » Blog » A day in the life … Sister Rose Marita Riordan

A day in the life … Sister Rose Marita Riordan

Sister Rose Marita Riordan cleans up following a meeting at the Providence Spirituality and Conference Center.

Sister Rose Marita Riordan cleans up following a meeting at the Providence Spirituality and Conference Center.

While Sister Rose Marita Riordan may be 93 years young, she still hasn’t officially “retired.”

Sister Rose Marita spent more than 50 years in education, including three stints as a principal in North Carolina and Washington, D.C.

She came back to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods in 1990 after “retiring.”

“The question was, what was I going to do?” Sister Rose Marita said. “There were a lot of options.”

She may have left the world of education, but Sister Rose Marita said she spent the next 15 years as a volunteer at Woods Day Care/Pre-School.

Health problems caused Sister Rose Marita to end her time at the day care. But she wasn’t done “working.”

So, Sister Rose Marita started volunteering at Providence Spirituality and Conference Center and has been at it since 2006.

On Mondays and Fridays, she is at the front desk from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, she works at Linden Leaf Gifts from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday is her only free day.

“I’m married to the place,” Sister Rose Marita said.

Those visiting Providence Spirituality and Conference Center may also have the chance to have Sister Rose Marita take them on a tour of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, something she said she enjoys.

“I’m a people person,” Sister Rose Marita said. “I want to help people. I want to keep going and enjoy it.”

The self-proclaimed workaholic admitted she is not best suited to sit in her room throughout the day.

Sister Rose Marita Riordan

Sister Rose Marita said she wakes up every morning at 3:30 a.m., to have a cup of coffee and a bagel, read or work a crossword puzzle. From there, she prays and then heads to chapel.

“I wake up with an alarm, but I’m ready to go (at 3:30 a.m.),” she said. “And it’s my time to be alone.”

She then eats her breakfast before heading to work. After work, she gathers with other sisters before dinner.

At 6:30 p.m., each evening, she watches the news, before watching “Wheel of Fortune,” and “Jeopardy.” She then heads to her room at Providence Hall at approximately 8 p.m., and is in bed by 9:30 p.m.

“I like the routine,” she said. “I would find it hard just to sit. But I’m tired at night.”

Sister Rose Marita does all of this daily after surviving colon cancer. She also has a pacemaker and a stent in her heart.

Sister Rose Marita said she has had other setbacks since returning home. For example, she said she fell approximately seven years ago and had to stay in the hospital for a while.

“It was very frustrating for me,” she said.

Regardless, Sister Rose Marita said getting up each day is a blessing.

“I enjoy life,” she said. “I really do. I don’t worry about things. I thank God every morning and say, ‘Jesus, another day. Thank you.’”

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Jason Moon

Jason Moon serves as media relations manager for the Sisters of Providence. Previously, he spent more than 16 years in the newspaper industry.

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5 Comments

  1. JB on August 19, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    very inspiring! Your energy and enthusiasm are lovely……makes me smile just reading about your routine and how it has served you well…..AND serves everyone who meets you too!

  2. Terri Grasso,SP on August 19, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    S. Rose Marita is indeed an inspiration to us all!

  3. Carol Nolan on August 19, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    What a terrific woman you are, Rose!

  4. Karen Zeibak on August 19, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    It’s been over 10 years since I worked for the Sisters in Providence Center (my favorite job EVER!) and Sister Rose Marita was a dynamo then – sounds like she hasn’t slowed down at all! Sister Rose Marita you are truly an inspiration and a wonderful role model! God Bless You!

  5. Kristine Fridell on October 6, 2014 at 9:04 am

    I remember Sister Rose Marita very fondly from my days in the 6-8th grades at Immaculata Dunblane! She left a lasting impression on me and U can see that she is still doing amazing work! What a wonderful woman! God Bless!

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