Then and Now

Sister Loretta Schroeder grew up on a farm in Michigan in a family of eight children, four boys and four girls, with wonderful faith-filled parents. Her early education included time in a one-room schoolhouse, public school in Hartland, attendance at the newly opened IHM St. John Grade School in Fenton and finally, St. Michael High School in Flint, another IHM school.

Sister Loretta’s family was related to Mother Teresa McGivney, the IHM General Superior, which may have set her on the course to becoming an IHM Sister. When she came to visit, she loved the beautiful blue habits. The sisters were nice and seemed happy.

“I guess I just kind of edged toward the place. It wasn’t like jumping right in,” she recalls. She never heard a booming voice directing her steps, but she felt she was going down the right path. It was a path that started when she was in catechism in fourth grade and a sister put her cloak around her shoulders. Encouraged by Sister Cyprian Maurer at St. John and then Sister Xaveria Barton at St. Mike, she joined the IHM congregation after high school graduation.

The first time Sister Loretta really appreciated community life was during her first mission at St. Mary of Redford where she taught fifth grade for three years. She enjoyed living with a large group of sisters and was grateful for all their support. She taught at St. Mary, Mount Morris, for three years before returning to St. Mary of Redford, serving for the next 40 years as teacher, guidance counselor, assistant principal and, finally, principal. During that time, she earned her master’s degree at Seton Hall University.

Dissuaded from her intention of becoming a CENA in the Motherhouse infirmary, Sister resolved to spend her “retirement” years being friendly, kind and grateful, helping wherever she could. This has included service on the boards of the Monroe Vicariate Pastoral Council, Monroe Habitat for Humanity and HOME Incorporated (Elm House); participation as a member of the Monroe County Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP); and as a volunteer at the Motherhouse. As a driver, she enjoys spending time with the sisters as she takes them to appointments, wakes and funerals. Sister Loretta loves working in St. Mary Organic Garden and the flower beds at River House.

Her greatest joy since joining the community has been to be associated with so many marvelous people and to become more aware of how much God loves us and God’s great mercy.

Sister likes to contemplate the vastness of God’s love. “God’s love is like an ocean; Love is reflected everywhere!” She is most grateful to the community for giving her everything – “my education, my identity and the freedom to live this life.” She feels so blest through her wonderful family, good friends, the people of St. Mary of Redford, Detroit, fellow volunteers, golf and Dominoes buddies. “I am overwhelmed with blessings.”

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