2014 Jubilarian – Lucy Abbey

Sister Lucy Abbey says she “came to two communities.” She initially entered the IHM community in Philadelphia right after high school graduation.

“What I saw in the IHMs in Philadelphia was a sense of family; that they cared for one and other. I am suited to [religious life] because it calls for a whole-hearted commitment involving lots of people.”

Sister Lucy was a member of the Philadelphia community until 1985 and taught religion and Spanish at various high schools. She also had the opportunity to travel and study in Italy and Spain. She then worked in New York City for three years, where she enjoyed working as a religious educator at a parish and frequently worked with the Hispanic parishioners. Occasionally, she saw the TV show Law and Order being taped.

When she saw that the Philadelphia community was heading in a more conservative direction than what she wanted, Sister Lucy had a divided heart. She knew she wanted to remain in a religious life, and having visited IHMs in Monroe for many summers and connecting with their charism, she transferred.

“I felt at home,” Sister Lucy says. “People had the same sense of commitment.” With a master’s degree in theology, she appreciated the congregational learning on new theology. “This was really in accord with how I think. This is how I want to live religious life.”

Once she came to Monroe, she spent time at the Motherhouse to get to know the sisters of Monroe and ministered as a social justice advocate with Groundwork in Detroit. Sister Lucy also spent time in Honduras and Nicaragua.

She worked at St. Suzanne Parish in Detroit as a pastoral associate, which nurtured her desire to work with people living in big cities. She got involved with both the neighborhood and the parish. “I was interested in the quality of life in the neighborhood as well as the faith inside the parish,” she says. Sister Lucy worked tirelessly to get many after-school activities started in the buildings owned by the parish.

After 16 years at the parish, she worked a few part-time temporary jobs before teaching Spanish and religion at Covenant High School. Sister Lucy went on to earn a master’s degree in social justice at Marygrove College; taught English as a Second Language at S.W. Solutions in Detroit for two years and then went to St. Christopher Parish in Detroit, where she ministers in community organizing.

Sister Lucy’s greatest joy as an IHM is “feeling that I really belong. This is the right place for me because of the people and because of the style of religious life. And I can make choices for ministry that fit me. One of the things I gave up in transferring congregations is being known by the congregation. I come here with a background in all kinds of things, including theology and Spanish, and people don’t know that.”