Sister Mary Traupman, formerly Sister Marla, entered religious life from St. Mary parish in McKees Rocks, Pa. A first-generation American of Austrian decent, she has been an educator and administrator, and is also a practicing attorney.
When considering a vocation to religious life, she says that the Sisters of Divine Providence, especially her teachers, inspired her to the extent that she felt the best thing to do with her life was to become like them.
For 20 years, Sister Mary taught math in middle school and high school. She has a degree in education from La Roche College, a master’s degree in science and mathematics from Notre Dame University, and a master’s of business administration from the University of Pittsburgh. She began pursuing a law degree after she was asked to serve as the risk manager for Divine Providence Hospital in 1981. It was her job to deal with the attorneys who represented and protected the Sisters, so she felt she needed a legal education. She attended the night program at Duquesne Law School and received a Juris Doctor in 1989. She also holds a certificate in health care administration from St. Louis University.
She has been a staff attorney and has been in private practice. Since 2012, she has served as a councillor on the Community’s Provincial Leadership Team.
The founder of the Community, Bishop Wilhelm Emmanuel von Ketteler, was a lawyer who became a priest. Sister Mary says, “He had a great concern, especially for the poor and working classes. He is a national hero among the German people. I like to say I’m following in his footsteps.”
When people comment to Sister Mary that she has two careers—“You’re a lawyer and a nun”—she replies, “I have a life and a ministry. My life is as a Sister of Divine Providence and my ministry is that of the law.”