2015 Jubilarian – Mary Jane (Marie Mark) Hinks
While praying one day, Sister Mary Jane Hinks wondered if she had a vocation. The response was a resounding YES! She, her brother and three sisters (one being her twin), had grown up in Dearborn, Mich., and she knew the IHM Sisters who taught her at Sacred Heart.
She joined the community right after graduating from high school. She enjoyed her postulancy but was challenged by the strict rules during her novitiate.
During her novitiate, Sister Mary Jane worked at St. Mary Academy, first cleaning and then caring for the sick girls in the Academy infirmary. Her first teaching assignment was at Our Lady of Lourdes in River Rouge, Mich., teaching first grade. She always loved teaching the younger children, and in fact, it was her love for children that led her to her vocation.
Sister Mary Jane’s classrooms were always well organized. She was a strict disciplinarian, but the children had fun and enjoyed learning; she often taught her students how to dance and sing. She spent nine years teaching in the first or second grades in the Detroit area (she had a classroom of 65 first-graders and loved it!) before heading south to teach fourth grade at St. Michael the Archangel in Miami. She fondly remembers once taking her “St. Mike” students to Holy Cross Hospital to sing Christmas songs for the patients and visitors.
She returned to Michigan after four years and taught at St. John in Monroe and St. Joseph in Trenton and headed south again after five years. At St. Lawrence School in North Miami Beach, Fla., she taught grades one-two and three-four for nine years. Following a sabbatical in Minnesota, she taught second grade at St. Coleman in Pompano Beach, Fla., ministering there for 18 years and earning a “Teacher of the Year” award one year. She retired to the IHM Motherhouse in 2003.
A highlight of Sister Mary Jane’s life was meeting singer Johnny Mathis after one of his performances. They talked for a half hour and he gave her a hug. Afterward, he sent her some of his albums and a card that read “all my love, Johnny.” She received a card from him every Christmas and birthday for years. Sister Mary Jane is most grateful for the life she has had with the community, finding what she “had been looking for. My vocation is love and service to others.”