National Catholic Sisters Week: Get to Know Sr. Ellen Marvel

March 13, 2020

National Catholic Sisters Week is an annual celebration that shines a light on the spirituality, mission, and community building of women religious and the profound impact they make around the world.

This week throughout the country, women religious are honored through a series of events that teach, enlighten, and bring greater focus to the lives of these incredible women. It’s an opportunity to recognize all they have done for others.

To celebrate National Catholic Sisters Week, we will be profiling some of the Sisters of the Redeemer. Learn more about them. Let them inspire you.

Get to Know Sr. Ellen Marvel

How were you first introduced to the Sisters of the Redeemer?  

During high school, I volunteered as a candy striper at St. Ignatius Nursing Home. One Sunday, I gave a talk about my volunteer commitment during a gathering at Old St. Joseph Church in Philadelphia. There were Sisters of the Redeemer also there, and they spoke to me and invited me to visit. When I went to visit, I felt God was calling me to this community.


What is your favorite movie? 

 Man of La Mancha. The song, “Dream the Impossible Dream,” has always been a motto for me—have the courage to keep dreaming.


What is the best part of being a Sister of the Redeemer? 

Sharing in the Spirit of our Founder, Blessed Alphonse Maria – her simplicity and prayerful life. Also, sharing life and prayer with our community of Sisters.


Do you have a hobby or something you like to do in your spare time?  

I love to listen to instrumental music, especially Christian music. I also enjoy reading and caring for plants. Orchids are my favorite.


What is the best piece of advice you have ever given?

To live one day at a time—each day is a gift from our Creator.


What is your favorite scripture?  

John 15: 1- 5

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and every one that does he prunesso that it bears more fruit. You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you. Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.


What advice would you give someone discerning religious life?  

Listen to the Holy Spirit—who is always speaking to us, within you. Also, research different communities and speak with Sisters—learn from them.


What is your favorite season and why? 

Spring is my favorite season.  I like to see new life coming forth in nature and listening to the chirping and singing of the birds.  It reminds me of our life, even though at times we may experience darkness in our lives, we will experience new life and growth within ourselves if we remain faithful to God. To me, spring symbolizes Life, Death and Resurrection.


What social justice issue is of most concern to you?

I am concerned about how many adults and children are without shelter and food in our otherwise prosperous country.  I am also concerned about how we close our eyes to the people trying to enter our country from unsafe places. We close our gates instead of being a welcoming nation.