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Then and Now

Sister Anne Crimmins

For what has been, “Thanks!” For what will be, “Yes!”

From the beginning, I have been so very blessed. My parents (Norine and Frank) raised me, my sister and brother, Jane and Bob, in Port Huron. There my love of faith, family and nature was born.

We belonged to St. Stephan Parish where I went to school for all 12 grades. Although IHM Sisters taught there, I wasn’t drawn to join them. I was intent on becoming a nurse along with some of my friends and had been accepted by more than one nursing school. And then, as would happen throughout my life, there was an invitation. Sister Mary (Coronata) Laubacher, one of my senior teachers, asked if I had considered religious life. My response? “No.” Her response? “Maybe you should.” I did and entered the community in September 1960.

Such invitations have continued throughout my life. Sometimes I knew it was the next right step as when I felt the call to move from the classroom to school administration or when I sensed that I could use the gifts I had been given as a counselor particularly, in the field of substance abuse. But there were others that surprised and challenged me: being invited to consider leadership in our congregation in 1994 or accepting my friend, Paula Cooney’s invitation in 2006 to go to California with her where she had a ministry waiting but I did not. In both cases, I couldn’t find any reason not to say, “Yes.”

My 12 years in Leadership were filled with challenges and blessings, developing a new governance plan with the first team and renovating the Motherhouse with the second! The collaborative style of each team fit me well. We brought our gifts and worked hard at putting them at the service of the congregation. As a mission councilor, and in particular in my work with formation and the Associates, I found a niche that was mutually rewarding.

My nine years in California began as a clean slate and developed into a beloved ministry with sisters living with dementia. I led in the development of a memory care community that set the highest standard of person-centered care. The culturally diverse staff and the sisters we served taught me so much and led me to be involved in teaching other religious communities how to care for their own.

Life as an IHM Sister has called me to be and do more than I could ever do alone. The sisters I have known have modeled the gift, the challenge and the power of commitment of a community of women given to serve the mission of God in our place and times.

My “Yes” to the future, some of which I will not see, is the trust that the IHM mission will continue in ways not yet imagined. I pray that the seeds planted over the past 176 years will bear fruit rooted in deep faith, sustained in a courageous spirit, resulting in action that leads to justice.

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