Elizabeth was born on, April 26, 1927, in River Falls, Wis., the third of nine children born to the late Flavien and Florence (Gartland) Martell. She was accepted as a Franciscan Sister of Little Falls, Minnesota, on August 12, 1948, receiving the name Sister Mary Pierre and made her final vows on August 12, 1953. She was a Franciscan Sister for 68 years.
In her early years, living in Wisconsin, Betty enjoyed the beauty around her. The family took long walks during which she learned the names of the trees, flowers and birds. These were joyful times for her. At the age of nine, the family moved to Grafton, N. Dak., where her father was a teacher. She missed the hills and trees of Wisconsin, but did adapt to the Red River Valley and loved the expanse of the sky and the beautiful Northern Lights.
During her high school years, the Presentation Sisters from Fargo came to Grafton to catechize and work with the youth. The sisters made a lasting impression and planted the seeds of Betty’s vocation. After graduation, she worked for several years and searched out different communities. She settled on the Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls.
Sister Elizabeth was a perceptive, insightful person who ministered well with teens and women who were trying to find meaning in their lives. She had a thoughtful and understanding heart that reached out to those who needed her assistance. In her ministries of social work, she utilized all these qualities serving in Breckenridge, Little Falls and the St. Cloud Children’s Home; in Lexington, Miss.; and at Becker House in Chicago. Sister Elizabeth particularly enjoyed working with young people at the St. Cloud Children’s Home and St. Francis High School.
Betty’s sister, Jeanette, followed her into the Franciscan Community and they shared a close bond throughout their lives. Family ties were very important, and both sisters reached out to family members especially to their sister, Yvonne. Sister Elizabeth always looked forward to visits and phone calls from her family. She continued to enjoy long walks in nature and was faithful to an exercise regime. Sister Elizabeth was an avid reader, an expert Scrabble player and baked many delicious cookies.
Sister Elizabeth was preceded in death by her parents, her sisters Yvonne, Dorothy and Sister Jeanette, OSF. Survivors include siblings John (Jean), Ennis, Tex.; Joann Reyna, Waterloo, Iowa; Patricia (Ray) Roloff, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Billie, Iowa City, Iowa; and Michael, Iowa City, Iowa; nieces, nephews and her Franciscan Community.
A wake will be held for Sister Elizabeth on April 20, 2017. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on April 21, 2017, at St. Francis Convent.