2014 Jubilarian – Mary (Caritas) Naughton
Her father made his living building houses during the auto industry boom in Detroit. Later he was hired by the University of Detroit in the maintenance department. The family lived near school, church, shopping and friends and never owned a car, walking everywhere they went. Sister Mary learned to sew at an early age and often sewed for herself and her younger sister.
Sister Mary’s first grade teacher at St. Gregory the Great School, Sister Alfred Marie, influenced her to become an IHM. This teacher had 90 students in the morning class and 90 in the afternoon. She was creative in her teaching methods and often sang the lessons to the children. Sister Mary was a good student, and she loved to read. She enjoyed going to school every day and knew one day she would become a nun and a teacher, thanks to Sister Alfred Marie.
Having decided to become a sister in the first grade, she kept it a secret until it was finally time to tell her family. Her mother was delighted she wanted to be an IHM, and confided that she always wanted Mary to become a sister but wanted the decision to be hers alone.
Sister Mary came to Monroe in June 1943, along with three of her classmates from St. Gregory, and was received by the community in January 1944. She began teaching fourth grade at St. Charles in Detroit in 1946. This was followed by years teaching at St. Rose, St. Vincent de Paul, Annunciation, St. Matthew, St. Edward and Blessed Sacrament in Detroit; St. Phillip, Battle Creek; Holy Cross, Marine City; and Sacred Heart, Roseville.
After more than 25 years in the classroom, Sister Mary became the media director at St. Gertrude Parish in St. Clair Shores. She went on to teach at St. Isaac Jogues in St. Clair Shores and then to become the St. Isaac librarian. This was followed by ministry at five different Michigan schools as librarian and also as librarian for Visitation and as an assistant for the Motherhouse Library. In 1999, the Michigan Catholic Library Association presented her with the Gabriel Richard Award for Meritorious Contributions to Catholic Librarianship.
In reflecting on her life, Sister Mary says, “In the end, I think my greatest concerns will be, ‘how much love did I have in my life? How did I share my love? Who loved me? Whom did I treasure? Whose lives did I impact? Did my life make a difference for someone else? How did I serve the world?’ I’m certain that my only concerns will be about how I did or did not fill my life with love.”