CSJ SisterStory Project
Interview with Mary Jo Ritter


Interview with Mary Jo Ritter


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Sister Mary Jo Ritter says "you can find joy in what you think you didn't want to do at all," as she talks with Elizabeth Theisen about teaching, basketball, and her experiences as a foster mother.



Length of Interview


Date of Interview

Spring 2015

Document Type

Oral History

Digital Format

1 MP3 (38.3 MB)

Digital Publisher

Fontbonne University Archives


St. Louis, MO


History of Religion | Oral History | United States History | Women's History

Additional Notes

Elizabeth Theisen is a sophomore majoring in speech language pathology at Fontbonne University in Saint Louis, Missouri. Liz was born and raised on a farm in a very small town called Bernard, Iowa. She enjoys are riding horses, playing sports, hanging with friends, and spending time with family. She is very involved in her church and organizations around campus.

Going into the project I thought that Catholic Sisters are very interesting, respectable, and phenomenal women. I believe that Sisters giving their lives to service is one of the most selfless and incredible things a person could do. Some would say I am a little obsessed with Sisters, because I just find them so fascinating, astonishing, and remarkable. I am one of those girls that when she sees a Sister it makes her day and always want to go up and talk to her. Going into the project I am a practicing Catholic and would consider myself a very involved Catholic in and outside the church. I have participated in the Catholic religion from the church choir to being a religion teacher. I would consider myself a religious person since I do practice the Catholic religion and practice the values that the Catholic religion has instilled in me outside the church. I am also deeply devoted to following the path that God has chosen for me and very grateful for everything God has created and given me. I chose to participate in this class, because some would say I am overly fascinated about sisters. I just think Sisters are amazing people and that most people don’t realize all that Sisters do and all that they have given up to fulfill their vocation. I also would like to know more of the miraculous things that the Sisters do and why they decided to be Sisters. What was there supposed calling and how they went about becoming a Sister? I have always been interested in Sisters and the role models that they are. I think this class will be a great starting point to learn about remarkable Sisters that change the world for the better.

* * *

The interview process was fun, enlightening, and nerve-racking all at the same time. Before the interview I was very nervous about getting everything set up and working correctly and making my Sister comfortable during the interview. I knew that my Sister was very nervous about the interview so that made me nervous. This was my Sisters least favorite part of the whole project. After the interview got started conversation started flowing and it seemed like it went by so fast. My sister gave great advice and you could tell that her real passion in life is being a foster mom. My Sister gave tons of great advice and has now truly shared her story not just with me but with the world. My favorite part of the whole interview was when she said the line, “I guess um like my last baby I can’t remember if I was doing this with my last baby I don’t think so um they ah…. Said that you know he would be needing therapy so it was life and he probably will but he went from having a very total stiff body ah to relaxed and happy um by the time he left he was 18 months and they thought he wouldn’t he would always be delayed he was right on target so that’s one of my biggest joys.” This is her favorite joy from her ministries. To find out more about my Sister and her amazing life as a Foster mom you can watch the video. Most people including myself think that Sisters can’t have kids or take care of children while she proves this wrong. She has changed over hundreds of children’s lives. She does amazing things my Sister is truly a special Sister that was called to the special ministry of becoming a foster mom.

Copyright Note

These oral histories are made available by Fontbonne University for research, educational, scholarly, and/or creative purposes only. All uses should adhere to the principle of fair use established under Section 107 of Title 17 the 1976 Copyright Act. More on fair use is available here: https://www.copyright.gov/fair-use/.

Interview with Mary Jo Ritter



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