Mareda-Toni Babcock’s connection to the IHMs began in 1943 when she enrolled at Marygrove College. Toni is a longtime friend of the IHM community, former trustee of the Marygrove board and served on the IHM Development Committee. She came to know many IHMs who ministered at her parish and considers them part of her early stimuli for the spiritual quest. In 1999, when Toni learned there were IHM Associates, she was eager to go through the discernment process. She became an associate in 2000 and made a life commitment as an IHM Associate in 2012. She said, “If there is any way I can give back to the community some part of what I have received, I would love doing just that.”
Toni is a woman of deep faith who fully embraces and lives out the call of Vatican II to be the people of God in the modern world. She is mother of seven, grandmother of 21 and great-grandmother to 20. Perhaps it was through this vocation of caring for and raising a family that deepened her gift of building community.
In response to the Second Vatican Council, Toni pursued a graduate degree at the University of Detroit in religious studies and participated in the formation of a small faith community called Teilhard de Chardin. With others, she was asking questions and seeking change in the Church. Toni noted that her graduate studies and engagement with the faith community increased her appetite for study and spiritual growth that is still not sated.
Toni is adventurous, curious and open to new ideas and enjoys engaging in thoughtful conversations. She has a pilot’s license, plays the mandolin and decided to learn piano years after she was officially an “elder.” Toni enjoys exploring ideas from a variety of perspectives, pondering the cosmos, considering significant questions and issues of the time to nurture her spiritual journey.
She is also a benevolent and generous philanthropist, supporting many faith-based and educational organizations. In addition to her generous support of the IHM Sisters, Toni donated the installation of the Motherhouse Labyrinth, which was designed by her son, Leo. Toni builds community by reaching out to individuals and organizations who have a vision of, and work to create, a just, peaceful and sustainable world.