35 Years of Hope: Marianne Lutz
Marianne Lutz is a long-time member of St. Anne’s Catholic Church in Barrington. Interested in the concept of more well-to-do parishes sharing their resources and their faith with poorer parishes, she joined St. Anne’s sharing program with St. Gelasius, which incubated St. Martin de Porres of Hope.
“I came in at the beginning, when Sister Therese and Sister Connie were knocking down walls,” says Marianne. “I was extremely impressed with both of them. I was very much in awe of what they were trying to do and all they were accomplishing. My husband and I made St. Martin’s one of entities that we supported, and we’ve supported it ever since. I also made it a point to make people at St Anne’s aware of the shelter.”
Marianne joined St. Martin’s Board of Directors, serving as its chair for several years. Today, almost 35 years later, parishioners at St. Anne’s remain very active with St. Martin de Porres House of Hope. “I have found people are willing to help out with materials, donations or money but you have to give them an opportunity to do it,” says Marianne. In addition to financial support from St. Anne’s, Marianne has coordinated Giving Trees and instigated the annual Christmas party for children to select presents that St. Anne’s donated to their mothers for Christmas.
Marianne says that the purpose of a sharing program is not just to share resources, but to also share faith and togetherness. “We would have ‘Days of the Spirit’ where we would worship at each other’s houses, and we had a formal Day of Recognition at the Cathedral,” Marianne says. “We have good times. We’d have a party every year to celebrate effort and successes. A tent would go up, we were all invited to mass and then a party with a band. The band would play ‘Leroy Brown’ and Sr. Connie and Carol Marin would start the dancing.”
“St. Martin de Porres House of Hope is a wonderful institution,” Marianne says. “It holds a special place in my heart.”