Sister Carita Ulm, O.P.
Rose Marie Ulm
Sister Carita Ulm was the second youngest of eleven children born to Elsie HildegardeConzelmann and Louis Peter Ulm. The family lived in Orange, Texas where she attended St. Mary’s Catholic School all the way through the twelfth grade. The three youngest children entered into religious life. One of her brothersbecame a diocesan priest and one of her sisters also became a Dominican sister.
She describes her childhood as very spiritual, normal and happy experience. She and her family went to daily Mass. “My parents were wonderful examples of what it meant to be Catholic andthey lived their faith by example more than by their words.” Her mother would tell her, “If you have a penny in your pocket, give it to someone and God will reward you.” Her parents lived lives of great generosity and love, always helping the children to live the same way.
The Dominican sisters who taught her at St. Mary Catholic School were a great influence on her as well. Sister Carita knew she wanted to be a nun since she was in the second grade. “They built on what my parents taught me.” In 1954, after graduating high school, she came to Houston and entered the convent and attended the Dominican College receiving her degree.
Sister Carita taught children for 50 years before retiring. “The children taught me more about God than anyone else besides my parents. Their faith is so sincere and simple. You experience God through teaching.” Her first year teaching she was assigned to teach a split class which she remembers as a bit of a challenge. After that she moved to different schools teaching mainly language arts. She taught every grade, kindergarten through eighth grade, with the exception of sixth grade.
St. Mary’s Catholic School in Taylor, Texas, was one of the most memorable places she taught. During her time there she also served as principal. “St. Mary’s was a place where you could feel God’s presence and see the goodness of God.” She attributes her spiritual growth to the faith, kindness and good examples of those around her. It challenged her to be a better person. “The Dominican charism was very evident in the parish and school. There was so much love, you could feel the love and the peace.” St. Mary’s grade school has been in existence for 128 years and has had a Dominican sisterworking in the school since the beginning.
When asked about her years as a Dominican Sister she said that the community just reaffirms what her parents taught her. A highlight of her life since her retirement has been having more time to pray, study and participate in community activities, helping out wherever she can. Growing closer to God is her deepest desire. She feels God has given her the gift of creativity and art and she has been able to use these gifts well over these many years.
Currently Sister Carita lives at the Villa. She assists with answering the phone and directing visitors. She spends time praying and getting involved in community activities. She also enjoys helping decorate the Villa for the different holidays and events they have. It brings her much joy to serve God and others in anyway that she can. “My life has been full of many blessings and much love.”
Interview with Sister Carita Ulm, O.P. on December 16, 2013.