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2019 Theresa Maxis Award recipient

Catholic education is a passion shared by Renee and Kurt. Renee’s parents’ devotion to their Catholic faith placed a strong value upon Catholic  education. They made the sacrifices necessary to be sure all five of their children attended Catholic schools from first through 12th grades. Renee and her siblings were the fourth generation on her mother’s side to be educated by the IHMs. The family is very proud to have several of the next generation who hold the torch as the fifth generation being blessed by the rich tradition and academic excellence as students of St. Mary Catholic Central High School, Monroe, Mich.

Kurt is Chairman, President and CEO of La-Z-Boy Incorporated. When the 92-year-old Monroe-based company decided to build a new world headquarters, the search ended when they learned of the IHM Sisters’ desire to sell some of their land. As Renee exclaimed to Kurt, when he shared this discovery, “That is it! You will be on sacred land!” During the early 1900s, the property once blessed the sisters with farms that provided them economic stability and sustainability. This property remains part of that rich tradition today as La-Z-Boy honors the land with its state-of-the-art, LEED Certified World Headquarters nestled around the protected oak savanna forests and walking trails, all while employing 550 people in Monroe and 10,000 employees world-wide.

Renee is a Registered Nurse who spent the early part of her nursing career at the University of Michigan Hospital. She most recently has been involved with projects that support education and health programs for children, adults and families in our community. Renee and Kurt have served on many volunteer boards and committees including St. Mary Catholic Central High School, St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, Gabby’s Grief Center, ProMedica Health System, Adrian College, University of Michigan Transplant Center, City of Hope Medical Center, Monroe County Community College Foundation, Habitat for Humanity of Monroe County and Mrs. Claus Club. Kurt and Renee’s philanthropic hearts have blessed numerous individuals and organizations.

Renee and Kurt thanked the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary for honoring them with the Theresa Maxis Award and everyone who participated in making the event a grand success! For nearly 175 years, the IHM Sisters have selflessly spread the Gospel by shaping the minds and souls of young people through their gifts and talents as educators. The courageous endeavor to create a new religious community dedicated to education began in Michigan on Nov. 10, 1845, by their co-founders, Sister Theresa Maxis Duchemin and Rev. Louis Florent Gillet. Within just two short months, the new community of sisters established its first school with 40 students in Monroe, Mich. The congregation’s history is humble, tenacious and valorous as these brilliant women spanned the globe with the commitment of the liberating the mission of Jesus Christ “to act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with our God,” (Micah 6:8) just as they continue to do today. In awe of their rich history and awe-inspiring accomplishments, Renee and Kurt celebrate the IHM Sisters and their heritage and honor their altruistic spirits.