Then and Now

Milne Terry 1Sister Theresa Milne was born into a blended family. Each of her parents had been previously married and had children; she had nine siblings. When she was nine months old, her mother died. She was raised by her maternal grandmother. She grew up in Detroit and attended St. Charles School.

After her grandmother died, Sister Theresa expressed an interest in a religious vocation to the general superior of the IHMs but was told she needed to stay home and take care of her father. She began dating a boy who was four years older. She got engaged during her senior year of high school, but planned to attend college before getting married.

When her father announced his own engagement, Sister Theresa no longer had to care for him and her religious vocation was growing stronger. She and her favorite sister prayed together to the Blessed Mother, and Sister Theresa followed her call. Her fiancé was very gracious and wished her a happy life.

She joined the IHMs after high school graduation and arrived in Monroe the same day all the sisters came home for summer break. She was forgotten in the front parlor; eventually, the postulant mistress came to talk with her. She enjoyed her postulate, however, her father died during her novitiate, which caused great sorrow.

Sister Theresa’s first mission was at St. Frederick in Pontiac, Mich. From there she taught at St. Matthew and Gesu in Detroit and then returned to Monroe to participate in a teacher-training program. During that time, she taught at St. Mary. “I loved teaching. I loved seeing the look on my students’ faces when they got something … seeing them succeed,” she says.MILNE-THERESA-314

Later, she taught at Our Lady of Good Council in Detroit and wrote a textbook for seventh-graders while working on her master’s degree in human physiology during summers. Then she taught and became principal at Mother of Our Savior, St. Agnes and then Gesu, all in Detroit.

Following a health concern, she was sent to work briefly at a school in Florida to convalesce. She returned to Michigan and finished the year at Gesu before beginning her service in campus ministry at Bowling Green State University (BGSU). During her 37 years at BGSU, she worked as a campus minister, ran the student teachers’ center and completed her law degree. Ohio’s governor appointed her to sit on the Commission on Dispute Resolution.

Sister Theresa’s greatest joy has been “how the community has nurtured my gifts – to be among wonderful women with a common goal.” Sister Theresa is grateful for the gift of friendship she has received from the community, as well as a life full of learning and adventure. She has travelled to Ireland, Scotland and England for genealogical research and Skypes with relatives in Ireland regularly.


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