Sister Martha Smith, CSJ

Sister Martha Smith, CSJ

Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet Martha Smith, 82, died May 9 at Nazareth Living Center in St. Louis. She had been suffering end stage renal failure.

Martha Smith was born Sept. 7, 1928, in Kansas City, Mo., a daughter of Edmund and Anna May Smith. She and her sisters attended St. Teresa’s Academy. Martha also attended the College of St. Teresa. She entered the community of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in 1947.

After professing her vows, Sister Martha completed her bachelor’s degree in philosophy at Fontbonne College in St. Louis. She then enrolled at St. Louis University to earn her Master’s Degree and Doctorate in history.

She was a teacher all her adult life, beginning in Catholic grade schools and then high schools mostly in the St. Louis area. She taught history at Fontbonne College for one year, then in 1965, returned to Kansas City to teach history at Avila University.

She earned a Fulbright scholarship to study in India the summer before she began teaching at Avila.

In 1999, she and Dr. Carol Coburn of Avila co-authored Spirited Lives, a book about the influence religious sisters had on American culture between 1836 and 1920. The book is considered outstanding in its field.

Sister Martha retired from active teaching in 1995, and was named Professor Emerita. In 1997, she began volunteering as the manager of Avila University Library’s Special Collection. She retired to Nazareth in 2010.

The funeral Mass was held May 12 in the chapel at Nazareth Living Center. Sister Martha is survived by a sister, a brother-in-law and many nieces and nephews.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, St. Louis Province, 6400 Minnesota Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63111-2899.


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November 24, 2020
The Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph