2014 Jubilarian – Marguerite (Edwarda) Gibbs
Sister Marguerite attended St. Michael High School in Flint where she fell in love with her teachers. She lived the typical life of a student, enjoying dances and parties, but she knew she wanted to join the IHM community; she wanted a relationship that would last forever. She liked the lifestyle, the teaching and everything being a part of the community had to offer; however, her father was not happy with the idea. He felt the lifestyle of a nun was not compatible with her outgoing personality, but he didn’t object the second time she asked him.
Her first mission was at St. Catherine (Detroit) where she taught first grade for five years, with more than 60 students in her classroom each year. Sister Marguerite loved her students’ innocence and sweet faces. She taught first grade at St. Martin (Detroit); first and second grade at St. Mary’s Academy; and first grade at St. Francis de Sales (Detroit) and St. Thomas (Ann Arbor). At St. Timothy (Trenton), she taught sixth grade and ministered as teacher and principal at St. Charles (Coldwater).
The changes from Vatican II occurred while Sister Marguerite was at St. Timothy. She recalls the day she wore the short habit for the first time. The bell rang and she walked into the classroom, shut the door, and a boy whistled. She laughed thinking, “Well, I must not look so bad.”
While she was in Coldwater, St. Charles became a public school, but she continued to minister as principal. It was here that she discovered the “Workshop Way” teaching method from Sister Grace H. Pilon, SBS. This program affected her way of teaching children and helped her when teachers came to her with problems in school.
Later on, when teaching in Tyler, Texas, she encountered a principal who thought differently about children and their environment in the classroom. Sister Marguerite was fired at Thanksgiving, but moved to Pensacola, Fla., where she successfully taught the Workshop Way with children and teachers for 31 years.
She fondly recalls working with one young student who hadn’t learned to read in kindergarten. The children’s first reader was on posters and placed on the wall for all to read. After saying the words with Sister Marguerite, the little girl told her mom that she had learned to read the first day of school!
Since she retired and moved back to the Motherhouse, Sister Marguerite has enjoyed sewing for others. “I hope I have many more years to continue doing what I’ve been doing,” she says. Her greatest joy though has been “the tremendous people who are here. I have been so enriched by them.”