2015 Jubilarian – Elaine (Annella) Aldridge
Sister Elaine Aldridge attended St. Charles in Newport and then St. Mary Academy in Monroe; both schools were staffed by the IHMs. Encouraged by her mentor and seventh grade teacher, Sister Mary Siena, she thought about joining the community when she was quite young. She felt her calling was to do something for other people and had explored joining other communities as well as the military.
Her upbringing brought her in close proximity to the IHM Sisters. Her mother was good friends with some of the sisters and cooked for them; Sister Elaine worked for them also. She felt her mother’s strong devotion to the Blessed Mother throughout her life. It was during her juniorate while having a crisis of faith that she came to understand that she was where God wanted her to be; this struggle strengthened her faith. She said she needed “to be open to whatever I felt the path was leading me towards.” Now, she enjoys seeing “how God works in so many lives.”
Sister Elaine joined the community after high school with the support of her parents, but her father wanted her to know that she was always welcome home. She had wanted to be a teacher, but in college, she worked at the Health Care Center at the Motherhouse. She attended Providence School of Nursing to become a registered nurse and later came back to work at the Motherhouse.
She had a year in clinical pastoral education but decided nursing was her calling. She worked for six months on an oncology unit at Harper Hospital before working for Hospice of Southeast Michigan and St. Mary Health Care Center in Southfield. Then she came back to the Motherhouse where she ministered for 11 years as a nurse before becoming administrator of the Motherhouse Health Care Center for an additional 10 years.
Following her Motherhouse ministry, Sister Elaine worked at the Information Center in Taylor, Mich., helping clients obtain Medicaid services to keep them in their homes. She transferred to skilled home care nursing services for four years before returning to the Information Center. She enjoys serving the poor, not just the financially poor, which she feels fits into the congregational philosophy.
Sister Elaine says her greatest joy was working in the Health Care Center. “I was able to serve those sisters who had created what I was a part of,” she reflects. “Working in the Health Care Center made me what I am today.” She says it was like taking care of her own family and she was inspired by sisters who were really suffering and remained pleasant.
Sister Elaine is grateful for an excellent education and the support of the congregation, accepting her, pushing her to be her best self and encouraging her to develop spiritually.