Remembrance of the life of Sister Carina Vetter SL
November 6, 1919 –June 26, 2014
Carina Vetter was the seventh and youngest child born to Bernard Vetter and Bertha Pittrick Vetter. Her parents were first generation German-Americans, born in Cole County Missouri to German immigrants in the decade following the Civil War. Carina was born and raised in Jefferson City, Missouri, where she attended St. Peter’s parish grade and high school, taught by the Notre Dame Sisters. Graduating in 1937, during the lean years of the Great Depression, she put aside her desire to attend college and went to work as bookkeeper at an uncle’s machine shop.
Carina herself tells us what happened next, in the letter she wrote to Reverend Mother in 1941:
“I never forgot about college, as I felt that a year there would help me to decide just what God wished me to do in this life. Then one summer, I visited my cousin, Sister Catherine Joseph, at Webster College and thereafter knew that it was there that I wished to go to college. The following summer …my employer sold his business. So with my savings …I was able to attend Webster for one year [during which] I have come to love Webster and the nuns …When I left last June it was with a feeling of sadness, because I knew I couldn’t afford to return. But now, I don’t believe that I should wish to return, even if I could, because it is to Loretto I want to go…I wonder if you will have me?”
Carina was accepted into the novitiate that same fall, receiving the habit and her own baptismal name as her religious name on April 25, 1942. She made her first vows in 1943 and was missioned to St. Benedict’s parish school in Louisville for seven years, spending summers returning to Webster. She completed her degree in Elementary Education in 1953. Following a year teaching at Manton Public School, Carina travelled to St. Ann’s, Arlington Virginia, where she taught primary grades and then seventh grade until 1962. Summers were alternated between Webster College and Camp Marymount.
In 1962, Carina was transferred to the St. Louis area. There she lived and worked on one side of the Mississippi or the other until the final months of her life. She was assigned to St. Ann School, Normandy in 1962, Mary Queen of Peace in 1966, and Immaculate Conception, Maplewood in 1968 where she taught until it closed. In 1971 Carina chose to go across the river to St. Patrick parish school in East St. Louis, where she taught and served as assistant principal for eleven years. Returning to St. Louis, Carina joined the community at Loretto Center in Webster Groves. She wrote of that move: “It was a change…. With the exception of one year this was my first experience of living in a large community. Everyone was so gracious in welcoming me that I soon felt at home.” Carina’s work was located conveniently across the driveway, at Nerinx Hall, where she assisted in the library and bookstore for seventeen years.
Retiring in 2000, Carina picked up a book titled Anybody Can Draw and proceeded to prove that it was so. Her paintings and drawings embellish the Loretto Center; one was recently hung in the Commerce Bank in Webster Groves; others have decorated bookmarks and greeting cards enjoyed by many friends. Carina herself summed up the final decade of her full life in a response she wrote on a questionnaire: “[I’m enjoying] more time for praying, reading, being with our sisters, more time to spend on my hobbies. I haven’t thought much about fears—just grateful for the ‘wondercare’ we are given.” [shashin type=”album” id=”85″ size=”small” crop=”y” columns=”max” caption=”y” order=”date” position=”center”]