2015 Jubilarian – Rose Margaret West


West, Rose Margaret

Sister Rose Margaret West, IHM, first met the IHM Sisters during her senior year of high school when she transferred to St. Mary of Redford in Detroit. She joined the community shortly after graduation. She appreciated the value of her religious formation and came to understand the encompassing nature of spirituality.

“I came as a stranger to a wonderful group of people, and I felt God was in this holy place,” Sister Rose Margaret recalls. “I knew I wanted to be closer to God, but I didn’t know what being a sister involved. They told me when I got in the door.”

For Sister Rose Margaret, “being a sister” involved working in the Motherhouse Infirmary. She began taking college classes and worked with nurses in the Infirmary to learn patient care. “Eventually I worked on every floor of our Health Care Center,” she notes. “I liked being able to help the sisters and socializing with them.”

She ministered as the nursing supervisor on several of the units and spent time on night duty. “I remember when I first started night duty, one of the sisters used her call button. When I responded, she said she just wanted to see if I was sleeping,” she says with a laugh. Sister Rose Margaret was also responsible for getting sisters to their doctor appointments during the day. “At the time, most of the doctors were in Toledo,” she says. “I’d load up the car and start dropping sisters off to their different appointments. It usually worked out that by the time I’d dropped the last person off, it was time to pick up the first one!”

For many years, she tended to the sisters’ foot-care needs, even returning monthly during the year she ministered at St. Mary of Redford, where she cooked for the IHM Sisters, taught sewing to 17 high school girls and helped in the grade school library.

In the mid-1970s, Sister Rose Margaret spent a sabbatical year at Hilarion House in Mt. Rodney, Grenada, a residential home for older adults. There, she provided pastoral care, visited the sick and sat with critically ill residents at night. “I always had a desire to be a missionary,” she notes. “It was a great experience for me.”

Back in Monroe, she returned to the Motherhouse Health Care Center and earned membership in the National Alliance of Certified Cardiovascular Technologists. She ministered as a physical therapist and continued to provide foot care to the sisters.

She retired in 2003 and stayed busy with crafts, especially drawing and painting. Her favorite media are chalk, pen and watercolor, and many of her pictures hang in the IHM Motherhouse.

Sister Rose Margaret expresses deep gratitude for her years in the IHM community and feels that her experiences in ministry have expanded her understanding and love for all people.