Teresa (Teresa Avila) O’Connell, IHM
Phyllis Ann O’Connell was born April 30,1928, in Cleveland to John and Beatrice (Uhl) O’Connell. She attended St. Clement Grade School, Lakewood, Ohio and St. Joseph Academy, Cleveland. She then earned a bachelor’s degree from Mt. St. Joseph College, Cincinnati. In August 1951, she entered the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and received the religious name Teresa Avila. Sister Teresa later earned a master’s degree from the University of Michigan.
Sister Teresa’s teaching career spanned more than 40 years. She ministered in Michigan at St. Michael and St. John, Monroe; St. Anne, Warren; St. Charles and Marygrove College, Detroit; St. Matthew, Flint; Marian High School, Birmingham; and St. Thomas, Ann Arbor. She also taught at St. Michael, Miami, Fla. and in Ohio at St. Mary, Akron; Lorain Catholic High School, Lorain; Holy Name/Nazareth High School, Parma Heights and Lumen Cordium and Chanel High Schools in Bedford.
Transitioning from teacher to caregiver of the disabled and elderly in 1992, Sister Teresa ministered at SARAH Center and St. Augustine Manor, Cleveland. After returning to Monroe in 1996, she continued elder care until retiring to the Motherhouse in 2005 where she volunteered in the congregational service office as long as she was able. Of her service to the disabled and elderly she said, “… my focus is on respecting the dignity of each sister, giving them love, kindness, patience, compassion, affection and being attentive to the needs of all.”
Sister Teresa is survived by her sister, June O’Connell, for whom she provided care for many years and her sisters in community.
Read her Remembering.