Then and Now

Janowiak Carol 2Sister Carol Janowiak grew up in Detroit, the oldest child of eight. Dominican Sisters taught her at the parish school through third grade and then she went to public school.

She remembers the pastor asking her second grade class during their First Communion, “How many boys want to be a priest and how many girls want to be a nun?” and everyone raised their hands.

The desire remained in the back of her mind. While she was in ninth grade in public school, the pastor, who had three sisters who were IHMs, suggested she attend St. Rose in Detroit to complete high school. She entered as a sophomore and met the IHM Sisters there. The principal noticed a vocation and thought she should join the IHMs, but Sister Carol’s mother suggested she work for a year to help support her family.

Her calling never left her, and after a year with Michigan Bell, she joined the community; she missed her siblings terribly. “I was use to growing up in noise,” she says. “When I was with the nuns, it was just quiet. It was peaceful.” She was motivated to follow the rules because, “Everything was put in the context of God’s will.”

Sister Carol started her ministries teaching at St. Mary of Redford. After five years, she was invited to teach in Puerto Rico.

“Going to Puerto Rico just opened me up in terms of living a more inclusive life,” she recalls. “The Church was meant to be inclusive. We are one among many.”

Her six-year Puerto Rican ministry of teaching was about “giving people a sense of who God really is.” Sister Carol learned so much from living in a different culture. “It was a mutually enriching experience!”

When she returned to Detroit, she taught at Gesu. As she began to wonder if teaching was really for her, she was asked to work with the community finances, and for the next eight years Sister Carol worked as the provincial treasurer. This position afforded her the opportunity to get to know many of the sisters well. She then went to work at the Catholic Community Center in Benton Harbor, Mich., helping underserved people in the area get the support they needed. After 11 years in Benton Harbor, she returned to Monroe, to the IHM Business Office, a ministry that lasted for 23 years, until her retirement in June 2017.JANOWIAK-CAROL-197

Sister Carol feels blessed and grateful for all of her ministries and “being part of a group of women who are doing something beyond themselves as individuals. It’s a life of carrying on God’s dream of justice and peace for all. Meaning the people of the Earth, the Earth itself and the universe.”

She is grateful for the life adventure she has been on since joining the community.

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