Letitia (Florence) O’Connell, IHM

Sister Letitia O’Connell, IHM, 103, died Friday, Oct. 4, at the IHM Senior Living Community.

Sister Letitia was the eldest of five children born to John and Letitia (McGinnis) O’Connell of Tulsa, Okla. Born on Nov. 2, 1915, she was baptized “Letitia,” a namesake tradition throughout her mother’s family. Young Letitia attended several elementary schools and two high schools before graduating from Sand Springs High School. A family move to Illinois led her to attend Springfield Junior College, Ill., then to relatives in Michigan and attending Marygrove College, Detroit. She completed a Bachelor of Philosophy degree at the University of Detroit. In 1937, she entered the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Monroe) and received the religious name, Sister Florence.

Her ministry in formal education spanned 56 years. Early on she taught at the parishes in Monroe and spent the majority of her career in secondary education at St. Patrick, Blessed Sacrament, St. Francis de Sales and Immaculata, Detroit; St. Vincent, Pontiac; and Marian High School, Bloomfield Hills. During those years, she earned a master’s degree from the University of Detroit, but her interest in learning of literature, arts, history and political affairs was life-long.

Her interest in Asian culture led her to a teaching position at the Stella Maris International School in Kobe, Japan, in 1973 until the school closed and later at Nanzan University in Nagoya.

Returning to the United States in 1984, she accepted a faculty position at the Lado Institute of Language Development and Lado College, Washington, D.C. She returned to Michigan in 1994, serving in Student Support Services at Marygrove College before retiring to the Motherhou

se in 1996. She remained active in community events and ministry outreach well into her 90s.

Sister Letitia is survived by her brother Daniel O’Connell, SJ, nieces and nephews, and her sisters in community. She was preceded in death by sisters, Julia Green and Virginia Sobin, and brother, John.

Read her Remembering.