2014 Jubilarian – Remi (Mary Remi) Pauwels
She remembers as early as fourth grade she thought about a religious vocation, and the idea of becoming a nun stayed with her while she was having fun in high school. But when asked about a religious vocation by one of her high school teachers, Sister Remi said she wasn’t interested. “Other things in life were much more attractive at that point.”
However, the thought of religious life kept haunting her. Through prayer and discernment, she knew “this is what God wants me to do.” With the support of her parents, she entered the IHM community shortly after her high school graduation.
Sister Remi’s first mission was teaching at St. Charles School in Coldwater, Mich. The sisters lived in an old farmhouse that was very “homey.” She recalls that, “after two-and-a-half years of institutional living, this was ‘home’ again.”
Her next assignments was St. John in Monroe, where she taught first grade and acted as directing teacher for several of the junior sisters who were doing their student teaching. Sister Remi was then missioned, along with four others, to open St. Michael School in Miami.
After four years in Florida, her assignment was to the little town of Adjuntas, deep in the mountains of Puerto Rico. This was truly a missionary endeavor; converting an abandoned barn into an elementary school. Those were a happy six years. One year at Queen of Hope in Detroit cushioned the transition from Spanish language and culture back to the United States.
Over the next 17 years, Sister Remi taught at St. John High School in Jackson; was principal of St. Phillip High School in Battle Creek and taught Spanish at Lumen Christi High School in Jackson. During these years, many summers were spent completing a master’s degree in Spanish.
Sister Remi was elected IHM provincial of the Northwest Province. After completing her term, she ministered at Aquinas High School in Southgate as dean of students for seven years. She went to St. Mary Catholic Central High School (SMCC) and taught Spanish for eight years before retiring and moving to the Motherhouse.
Sister Remi has loved teaching and continues to substitute-teach at SMCC. “God’s been good to me. I have good health, I’m able to do it, and I enjoy it.” She is a Eucharistic Minister in the Motherhouse Health Care Center, visits the older sisters, assists in the Service Office and has other household responsibilities.
“I am grateful for my life – the whole bundle of it!” she notes. “I’ve been very blessed. All my experiences influenced me to be the person I am.” And each of those experiences reaffirms her conviction that she is where she should be.
“Getting to know God is a lifetime’s work,” she observes