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Memories – 1970s

1970  1971  1972  1974  1976  1977  1978  1979


Name: Sister Rita Critser (deceased)
School:  St. Mary Academy (Monroe, Mich.)
Memory: After the revolution in Iran, my parents brought my sister and me out of the country and placed us under the care of the sisters at St Mary.
Submitted by: Carmella (Nassim) Mashian, DDS

Name: Sister Marie Esther Haflett
School: Academia de Santa Teresita (Santurce, PR)
Memory: I owe a lot to Sister Mary Esther. She saw in me an ability for mathematics and pushed me to pursue that ability to the fullest. She encouraged me constantly and believed that I was a good student, at a time that I was not certain of my abilities. Having transferred to AST recently, not knowing anyone, I was by myself most of the time. Thank you Sister Marie Esther, I went ahead and received a Ph. D. in Chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and I am currently a Professor of Chemistry and the Department Head at New Mexico State University.
Submitted by: William Quintana


Name: All Sisters
School: Immaculata High School (Detroit)
Memory: My years at Immaculata were the most influential in my life. The sisters really cared so much for us.  Despite the stereotype regarding going to a Catholic school, these years helped to create an open and objective attitude towards other religions, people and life in general. The quality of the education enabled me to go into college ahead of the game and I still find myself relying on that part of my educational journey as it applies to theory and logic to sustain my constant love of education. Thank you to all the staff of IHS Detroit 1978-81. I will never forget you!
Submitted by: Shawn Gatling

Name: Sister Joan Charnley (deceased)
School: Marian High School (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.)
Memory: I will always remember Sister Joan for her kind, patient advice and support.
Submitted by: Alice Alvey (Althoff)

Name: Sister Marie (Lawrence Mary) Markel
School: St. Gerard Majella (Kirkwood, Mo.)
Memory: Sister Marie taught me in second grade. She was the most kind, soft spoken yet strong, person I had ever met. I was new to the school and had lost my mother three years prior. She would walk with me on the playground and help me make friends. She was a great teacher and helped me catch up with my class after a bad first grade. Most of all, with her I felt safe and loved. I have my own children now and hope that they will have the privilege of learning from someone like Sister Marie.
Submitted by: Sean Westhoff


Name: Jean Ann (Viviana) Gorman, IHM
School: St. Cyprian (Riverview, Mich.)
Memory: In 1977, my daughter, Renee Sedliar, was in second grade at St. Cyprian School in Riverview, Mich. My husband had lost his job and I had to go to work as a nurse. I worked the 3-11 shift at a local hospital which meant that I left for work before Renee came home from school. Many nights I did not get home until 1 a.m. Renee was so upset that I was gone for so long that she would not go to school. After two weeks of walking her half way and having her clinging and crying for me not to leave her, I carried her the two blocks from our house to the school. When we arrived, both Renee and I were in tears. Sister Jean Ann led us into an empty classroom and, with such kindness and compassion, helped calm us both down. She promised us that she would help Renee feel better and let her stay in the separate classroom until she felt ready to go into her own class. I will never forget Sister Jean Ann’s kindness to both of us. It was such a traumatic time for our family and Sister helped us get through it. Renee is now a senior editor at a publishing company in San Francisco. She is bright, happy, funny and has a heart as big as the world.
Submitted by: Carol Sedliar Shirk


Name: Sister Regina Mary Affholter (deceased)
School: Holy Redeemer (Detroit)
Memory: What more can I say? THANK YOU from a grateful family. Nothing I can write here will even come close to what you meant to my family. So sister, Thank You! Rest now. You earned it.
Submitted by: Philip Diegel, The Diegel Family, Detroit, MI


Name: Sister Corrine
School: St. Mary of Redford (Detroit)
Memory: I want to share an appreciation for Sister Corrine from third grade. I remember her classes and music and laughter and the tall boys who would open or close the tall windows in Rm 111. I know that Sister Corrine is watching all of us from above now and I just want to send her a “thank you”. Hope everyone else from Rm 111 has the same fond memories. E-P-I-P-
Submitted by: Eileen McMahon

Name: Audrey (Vinciana) Bushell, IHM (deceased)                           
 St. Mary of Redford (Detroit)
Memory: I remember Sister Audrey, our art teacher at St. Mary’s of Redford. She was so patient with me as I used pastels to draw a Fragonard, “A Young Girl Reading,” that took me months to finish. Sister said, “Well, you’re not very prolific, but at least you’re almost done.” She helped me out of more scrapes as I worked on that drawing, both at school and home. I will always consider her one of my best art mentors because she was so encouraging. Thanks, Sister Audrey!
Submitted by: Susan Phillips

Name: Audrey (Vinciana) Bushell, IHM (deceased)
School: St. Mary of Redford (Detroit)
Memory: Sister Audrey is one of the most important people in my past. I still have the pictures from our art class and pictures each of the girls from my table. The memories of Her and the classes i took with her are still my most pleasant memories of all my high school days. From basic drawing to clay and other media she was an inspiration and a joy to be with. Even tho I often was not. Thank you Sister for helping make me the man I am today.
Submitted by
: Rick Hoffman

Name: Dorothy (Marciana) Joyce, IHM (deceased)
School: St. Rene (Chicago)
Memory: Just wanted to offer our deepest sympathy upon the passing of Sister Dorothy Joyce! It was great seeing her at the St. Rene Reunion! I have a picture of her playing tennis on our eighth grade class picnic in 1974! I work as a statistician for the U.S. Government and I use the math that Sister Dorothy hammered into my head in seventh and eighth grade! She even stayed after school to help me get percentage calculations straight! College helped, but Sister Dorothy’s teaching enables me to do my job! May she rest in Peace! God bless you all! Our love to Sister Regina Fanning, also!
Submitted by: Barbara (Balaskas) and John Fox


Name: Sister John Louise Leahy, IHM (deceased)
School: Marygrove College (Detroit)
Memory: Sister John Louise Leahy was an artist, professor, scholar, mentor and, most of all, a strong woman that was the most beloved role model for all the women that passed through her graduate art classes. While pursuing my master’s degree at Marygrove, from the late ’60s until 1972, I was truly fortunate to have Sister John Louise as an art professor. Her most remarkable ability was teaching that art education was more than the creation of media in two or three dimensional forms, it was a vital connection between student, teacher and art materials. She taught that the process was a means to an end and that was the betterment of each person as they traveled through the creative experience. She did more than teach. She showed how important it was to be active in the arts. She did this by example for she was an accomplished artist having won many awards in Michigan. She said, “To be a painter, you have to paint.” Those words inspired me to continue my art work through all these many years. I thank her for her sweet smile, the twinke in her eye, her humor, her knowledge, her love of art, her commitment to teaching and her students, her love of life, and for the beautiful pieces she created in her art world. Her time is over on this earthy, but her spirit and laugh will always be in my heart.

Name: Sister Margaret Ann Henige, IHM
School: Hall of Divine Child (Monroe, Mich.)
Memory: Words will and can never explain what you and the sisters and staff at the Hall of the Divine Child have done. Since 1913-1980, it has been a mother-father-teacher in respect for God, love, honor and country and so much more to so many young boys from all types of life. I love you all.
Submitted by: Cadet Greg Walden, Class of 1972

School: Hall of the Divine Child (Monroe, Mich.)
Memory: To all the sisters who were at the Hall Of The Divine Child school for boys: you can never put into words or explain, what you have done. From 1913 -1980, you became our mother,father, teacher, etc., teaching us God, truth, honor, respect. I love you all. I am sure you don’t miss it, LOL, but I really really do. I have made contact with some of my classmates and other cadets from other years and some are so touched they even break down and cry for the great memories! Thank you and God bless you all.
Submitted by: Cadet Greg Walden

Name: Sister Florentia McInerney, IHM, Sister Augustine (Patricia O’Toole), IHM (both deceased)
School: St. Thomas the Apostle (Ann Arbor, Mich.)
Memory: I fondly remember Sister Florentia, who taught me Latin, and Sister Augustine (Patricia O’Toole) who taught me freshman religion. To this day I remember the anagram that Sister Augustine used for the first five books of the Old Testament: GEL Notre Dame (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy).
Submitted by: Brian Boyce


Name: Several IHMs
School: Sacred Heart (Dearborn, Mich.)
Memory: I came upon this website today and it certainly has brought back so many wonderful memories of the sisters. From my first encounter with the sisters in first grade with Sister Rose Bernadette Van Ooteghem, Sister Margaret (Malachy) Sullivan and all the others whose names right now are located somewhere in the back of my head, I thank you for your guidance, patience and service to our school and parish community. I still remember that on the first Sunday before school would begin, at the 10 a.m. Mass all the sisters would file in and sit in the front pews. It would be our first glimpse to see who was back and it was also a quick reminder that the school year was really back. Thank you and God bless you for being you.
Submitted by: Peter Locke

Name: Sister Janet Cameron
School: Christ the King (Detroit)
Memory: Sister Janet was the very finest teacher. She was my teacher for both 5th and 7th grades. Respected by all who knew her!
Submitted by: William Kennings, Jr.
Note: Sister Janet left the IHM Sisters in 1973.

Name: Peggy (Michael Francis) Devaney, IHM
School: Epiphany (Detroit)
Memory: I had Sr. Michael Francis as a second grader. I loved to stay after and help clean the room and do whatever chores were needed. Sr. was the first teacher to ever tell me I was smart – it would be many years later that that happened again. A few years ago the Archdiocese merged two departments and we were both in the Parish Life Dept. I did not know who this person sitting next to me was – but as we introduced ourselves she said “I taught a Carmody years ago at Epiphany” When I asked her name and found out she was my favorite teacher of all times I started to cry! For the next couple of years whenever she was downtown for a meeting she would pass my office and say “Brian, sit up straight” and I snapped to it! She claim that her ability to minister in jails is due to her experience with our class – which may well be true! I love you Sr. Peggy!
Submitted by: Brian Carmody

Name: Sister Philothea Foster
School: Epiphany (Detroit)
Memory: Sister Philothea was my teacher in fifth grade. She was able to get funding (with parents’ help) to go to California to learn a new method for reading. I took that class after school with her the next year and learned to LOVE reading. Years later when I was a Basilian novice, I was at St. Vincent School and there she was. She said, “Well, Brian Carmody, how are you?” Imagine my surprise! She was officially retired but was still teaching reading at St. Vincent School in Corktown. I learned to read my first novel because of her and continue to read novels like there is no tomorrow — and I credit Sister Philothea for that. I know that she is with the Lord now and I pray for her (and to) her often. Hey, we never know who really has God’s ear, but I think Sister Philothea does. She’s probably teaching him to read all those prayer requests!
Submitted by: Brian Carmody


Name: Paula Cathcart
School: Our Lady Queen of Hope (Detroit)
Memory: I posted my 8th grade picture on Facebook and we were all remembering Sister Paula. Thanks for your gift of knowledge. And you haven’t changed, I just looked at a recent picture.
Submitted by: Rick Hofmann

School: Academia Santa Teresita (Santurce, Puerto Rico)
Memory: In 1970 I graduated from Academia Santa Teresita in Santurce, Puerto Rico. Soon my high school class will meet for our 40th anniversary. During the course of my lifetime I have come to realize how much I owe you. Not only as a student but also as a person and a Catholic. I disagreed in certain areas with your Sisters at AST but always admired their strength and fortitude. As I reflect upon my life, I have come to understand that your congregation has influenced many of my most important decisions. Thanks to those wonderful human beings that gave their lives to help and guide us, my life has been fruitful. May the Lord and the Virgin be with you always. Thank you for everything and to you all. Well Done!
Submitted by: Rolando Quevedo-Motta, Esq.

Name: Sister Teresita and Sister Philomena
School: Colegio de la Merced (Cayey, PR)
Memory: My little sister Melba had broken her femur and could not attend school for a while. I can still see Sister Teresita and Sister Philomena in their white habits coming to give her lessons at home. These women were the best role models I had growing up poor and from a broken home in Cayey, P.R.  I thank God for each of them and for all the other sisters who ministered to us throughout the years. We would not have done it without you IHMs. You will always have a special place in my heart.
Submitted by: Shirley L. Shives
Note: Sister Teresita is retired at the Motherhouse. Sister Philomena died in October 1997.

Name: A. MacLeod
School: St. Columban (Birmingham)
Memory: I know it has been fashionable these past fifty years to put down a Catholic upbringing, but mine was something that I value. I went to St. Columban through grade seven. It closed for financial reasons. I was taught by IHM Sisters, with a few lay people.  I remember them all fondly. That hour of handwriting every day in lower grades still serves me well. The community atmosphere was wonderful. I went on to earn a B.A. and M. Ed., and then began a doctoral program which I hope to go back to finish some day. And yes, I am still a practicing Catholic.