Sister Mary Arlene Menz, SSJ, brought her love of education—particularly her passion for history and opera—to the young people she taught at every level, from first grade through college.
A Sister of St. Joseph the past 70 years, she continues her interest in history today, remaining current on contemporary issues. After entering the community from her home parish of St. Joseph in Erie, Sister Mary Arlene found her natural path to be in education.
For more than 25 years, she taught in diocesan schools, including: Holy Rosary, Blessed Sacrament, St. Andrew, Our Lady of Peace and Villa Maria Academy, all in Erie; St. Mary, Reynoldsville; St. Brigid and
St. Agatha, both in Meadville; and St. Francis High School in Clearfield.
During the summers, Sister Mary Arlene also taught part-time at Villa Maria College, Erie.
Aside from teaching, Sister Mary Arlene ministered from 1982-93 at Saint Vincent Hospital. She volunteered at the Erie Historical Society and the Erie City Mission, among other places. She retired in 1997 and resides at the Sisters of St. Joseph Community Living Center.
According to Sister Mary Arlene, she first began to consider religious life as a sixth-grader at St. Joseph School. In 1943, she graduated from Villa Maria Academy, Erie, and continued her education at Villa Maria College, graduating in 1958 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.
She furthered her education at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, earning a master’s degree in education/social studies in 1971. She pursued additional history courses at St. Bonaventure University, Olean, N.Y., and at Westminster College, New Wilmington, Del.