2014 Jubilarian – Catherine (Mary Delbert) Broughton
Sister Catherine Broughton came to the IHM community in 1943 right after graduating from high school. Her mother’s cousins, Dominican Sisters, inspired her to consider becoming a vowed religious, however, IHM Sisters had taught her at St. Patrick in Wyandotte. She admired her teachers and liked the habits they wore.
Sister Catherine “just wanted to be a nun and a teacher.” Growing up in a devote Catholic family with parents who went to church every day instilled a deep devotion to their faith in her, her sister and two brothers. She says she was “just drawn to the lifestyle” of a sister. She laughs as she reflects back on the reaction of her family when she told them she wanted to join the convent.
“Everybody laughed because I was a tomboy. My grandmother said they would never keep me. But my mother and dad were 100 percent with me.” Sister Catherine enjoyed the rules during her novitiate. “It’s what I wanted. You just have to go with the flow,” she says.
Sister Catherine’s first mission was at St. Michael in Flint where she taught 53 first graders, but had only 50 desks. She persevered with an organized schedule that incorporated the use of chairs. She then taught in Coldwater, Marshall and Detroit. She returned to her old school, St. Patrick in Wyandotte, where she helped close the school and consolidated it with another. Over the years, she taught every grade except second. She says she loved them all. “It was more exciting in high school, but I loved the little ones.” Sister Catherine also spent four years in the kitchen at the Motherhouse. She expected to cook but became the baker.
Sister Catherine always loved sports growing up and she said it came in handy. “We had physical education for the kids, so I did the sixth, seventh and eighth grade girls phys ed classes at various schools. I also coached softball and basketball.” Some men once challenged her coaching skills, however, her winning season shut down their complaints. She served as a referee for a high school girls’ basketball league as well.
“I’ve had a lot of children.” she notes. “I started babysitting in the fifth grade and ended at the age of 75.” She had the privilege of babysitting her grandniece and grandnephew for four years.
Being a nun has been Sister Catherine’s greatest joy. “I made up my mind that this is what I was going to do and this is what I will do, God willing.”