Associate Susan Marie Merriman



Tell us about your growing up years and family.

I am the second of 5 daughters born to Paul and Rita at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Santa Maria, the local hospital founded by the sisters. I attended local schools, including St. Patrick’s, Arroyo Grande High School, and Allan Hancock College. My husband, Cecil, and I have two adult children, Jonathan, and Jennifer. Cecil and I were married for 28 years before he passed away, but God has blessed me again with Robert. God is Good! Favorite story about a first—or early—ministry

My first ministry was visiting the sick. Jody, my dear friend, taught me the beauty of this ministry. After communion she would sing a few songs for the residents of a home. She showed me that I could be a servant in bringing Jesus to them and adding a smile to their days. I am also involved in the Martha Ministry. We serve the community at funeral receptions through helping to support grieving families. When my mother passed, we were greeted with beautiful tables with white rose centerpieces. An abundance of food was made by the loving hands of the ministry women. After this experience, I knew I wanted to be a part of this group to serve my community.

Why did you decide to become an Associate?

I had only known of one religious’ community, the Sisters of Mercy, until I met Sister Jeanne. She opened the door to learning about Franciscan values and I was amazed and longed for this life. At the time, I felt that I had lost what my faith meant to me many years before, but the Lord opened the door to the Franciscans.

How do you share your Franciscan values and spirituality now?

I still live in the Santa Maria area. I work at Marian Hospital and, in my work there, I am able to live and share freely the Franciscan values.

What would you like us to know about being a Franciscan?

In working closely with Sister Jeanne, I have been blessed to be a part of a new group of associates. It is an enriching experience in that I am learning more about Franciscan spirituality through their experiences.

Please share a favorite quote or verse.

“Lord, show me the way!” I don’t know if I read this, or it just came to me. I started my workday at a new job, Marian hospital, by saying these words as I walked into the building. I had no idea as to what supplies were used for whatever. Into my second week I was working alone at night shift, and I was in a panicked state. What if delayed and caused harm to a patient’s needs. But the Lord did show me the way! Those words inspire me to never fear, my Shepherd takes care of me.

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