Then and Now

Johnson #2When Sister June Johnson was in the 11th grade, her father passed away. Her mother raised the 17 children in the family alone and was an important spiritual role model in Sister June’s life.

She grew up on a farm in Goodells, Mich., and attended public school until the seventh grade, when she transferred to the nearby Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School in Emmett. She stayed until 10th grade; attended Yale High School for a year and then transferred to St. Stephen in Port Huron, Mich., for 12th grade. During that time, she realized she wanted to join the IHM community.

When she attended public schools, the IHM Sisters taught religious education on Sundays in Goodells; they also taught at the schools of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and St. Stephen. The sisters’ joy and interest in education impressed Sister June. “I always felt that when they were teaching, they meant business!” she recalls.

From an early age, she knew she wanted to teach and be a sister. Her calling felt, “Like a God-given gift. There is something there that you know you are expected to do, so you do it.”  Sister June joined the community after high school graduation.

She worked in the IHM Motherhouse infirmary during her formation years. She then went to St. Mary in Monroe and taught second grade. This was the start of a 50-year teaching ministry, primarily in the lower elementary grades throughout Michigan.

Sister June taught at St. Cecilia in Detroit (four years); St. John in Fenton, Mich. (eight years); St. Peter and Paul in Ruth, Mich. (three years); and St. Regis in Bloomfield Hills (two years). She then taught at St. Dennis in Royal Oak for 23 years and finished her teaching ministry with 10 years at Holy Redeemer in Detroit.JOHNSON-JUNE-287

Sister June took a sabbatical year between her St. Dennis and Holy Redeemer ministries and went on a 100-day renewal retreat in Santa Fe, N.M. She then spent some of her sabbatical year repairing houses in Florida.

Since her retirement, Sister June volunteers at Compassionate Companions in Monroe and Allen Park, Mich., where she visits clients in nursing homes and health care facilities. She lives at the IHM Novitiate in Wyandotte, serving as role model of vowed religious life for the women in formation.

Her greatest joy “has been in my teaching. I like teaching, and when I saw that there were some children who weren’t able to understand the work, oftentimes I would tutor. I enjoyed their success.” Sister June is most grateful for her education. “As time went on, I could see that my education was a gift,” she reflects. She is also appreciates learning to live with others and everyone looking out for each other.

 

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