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Janet (Janet Marie) Provost, IHM

Sister Janet Provost, IHM, 88, died Tuesday, Sept. 12, at her home, the IHM Senior Living Community.

Rose Marie Provost was born to Quebec native Alphonse and Gladys (Dupuie) Provost in River Rouge, Michigan, on Dec. 23, 1934. Joined by a sister and two brothers, the family belonged to Our Lady of Lourdes and the children attended the schools. After graduation (1952), she entered the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and received the religious name, Sister Janet Marie.

Sister Janet, as she became known, achieved her bachelor’s degree from Marygrove College while teaching at St. Gregory and Holy Redeemer, Detroit; Our Lady of the Lake, Harbor Beach; and St. Matthew, Flint. With her degree, she was missioned to primary grades at Holy Ghost, Albuquerque, New Mexico and earned a master’s degree from the University of New Mexico. In 1970, Sister Janet returned to Michigan, teaching at Sacred Heart, Dearborn, for five years before assignment to Our Lady of Lourdes, Atlanta, Georgia. She was gaining great experience with America’s young students before returning to the Western country at St. Stephen’s School, St. Stephens, Wyoming, also known as St. Stephen’s Mission on the Wind River Reservation.

Sister Janet had a great affinity for young students and operated with significant creativity to accomplish her teaching ministry. At the Mission, she initiated “Reading is Fundamental,” a government program to create book access. The students were thrilled with the “new treasures!” The school set a goal to bring all students to grade-level reading within three years. The goal was reached through the efforts of Janet and the IHM Sisters missioned there. A year of renewal and service (1987) followed in San Antonio.

Another ministry took her to David School in David, Kentucky, a deserted coal town. The David School focused on students returning to education after other encounters stalled their educations. David School was unique in its success for literacy, preschool education and GED programs, graduating over 1000 students during Sr. Janet’s tenure, vastly improving the lives of Eastern Appalachia residents. Sister Janet served as a teacher, Family Literacy Coordinator, Early Childhood Resource Developer and Director of the Mountain-Top Preschool.

These two ministry sites revealed her commitment to students and teaching: she learned to drive the school busses and work trucks on the Wyoming and Appalachia terrains to gather students. Her co-workers lovingly addressed her as “Sarge.”

In 1997, Sister Janet returned to Michigan as the community’s Coordinator of Printing and Mailing. The IHM Monroe Campus was vibrant, bustling with community events, the St. Mary Conference Center, social service agencies and a Montessori school. Sister Janet loved her ministry there with all the people and programs on campus and as a resident of Monroe. She retired in 2013.

Read Sister Janet’s Remembering here.