Then and Now

Wade #4Sister Brigid Wade grew up in Grosse Point, Mich., the fifth of six children. Her parents met on a blind date. Her father was studying to be a mortician so the couple had to stay close to the funeral home on their dates in case he got a call.

When she was in the sixth grade, her family moved; she met the IHM Sisters at St. Martin School, Detroit. One of her teachers told her that she thought Sister Brigid had a vocation.

“I had no desire to be a sister or to teach. I wanted to be a secretary,” Sister Brigid says. Her plan was to go Marygrove and then join the corporate world.

But one day, when the sun came out after a rain, a feeling came over her: maybe she was meant to be a sister. “I knew I would never be happy if I didn’t find out,” she recalls. She told her parents she wanted to go to Monroe. On the way, she changed her mind, but her father wouldn’t turn the car around.

During her postulate, she had fun pulling pranks on her classmates. One night, she and a few friends took all the novices’ socks that were hanging to dry and switched them with the postulants’ socks. “Chaos ensued the next morning,” she chuckles.

Adjusting to her new life a while taking college courses was challenging. Sister Brigid got through it with the support of her classmates and by acting the part until she fully understood it. Things began to come together during her student teaching and her mentor told her she was a born teacher.


For three years, Sister Brigid taught first grade at Sacred Heart in Dearborn, Mich., and then went to Our Lady of Miracles in Gustine, Calif., followed by St. Michael in Miami before returning to Michigan, where she taught at Our Lady Queen of Hope (Detroit) and St. Bede (Southfield).

Her next ministry took her to Oklahoma City, where she taught fourth grade and finished her master’s degree in counseling in elementary classrooms. Then Sister Brigid started a counseling program in Oklahoma, where she stayed for 20 years. She spent another 20 years in Pompano Beach, Fla., ministering as a counselor in the schools and religious education coordinator. She was able to stay in Florida to care for her mother for three years before returning to Monroe.

She has been active in her retirement. She operates the camera during services in the Chapel, sells books online, works with Motherhouse volunteers and is actively involved with other volunteer projects.

Sister Brigid’s greatest joy has been being a part of a group of women who have a vision. “It’s an all-inclusive vision, reaching out to everybody and spreading our values,” she says. She appreciates the IHMs’ commitment to the poor and is grateful to be a part of the community.


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