“We met over the dough.”
That was what Sister Andrea Broutin’s parents used to tell her about the way they met. “For a long time I thought we had a lot of money,” she said in her life story. As it turned out, the reference to “dough” was literal – her father met her mother at the Detroit bakery where he worked.
Andre Broutin had come to Detroit from Belgium, while Helena De Munter was born in Gladstone, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. When Helena’s father died of throat cancer at an early age, her mother moved to Detroit with four of their twelve children and went into business for herself as a bar owner.
After Andre and Helena married, they made their home in St. Jude Parish on the east side of Detroit. Two children were born: Andrea, on March 1, 1932, and John, eight years later. Following Belgian custom, Andrea was named for her father. Her two middle names, Rose Marie, were in honor of her two grandmothers.
Andrea came into the family at the height of the Great Depression, and ironically enough considering her interpretation as a child of the word “dough,” her parents struggled to make ends meet. “But I never felt poor,” she said in her life story. “In my house we had a lot of love, a lot of plain, good food, and my mom was a delicious cook. My dad baked bread, cakes and pies, which he also did at work, so we were very fortunate.”
Andrea attended public schools throughout her elementary and secondary education. But her friends went to St. Jude School, and she made a habit of skipping school so she could go to morning Mass with them, after which they would go out for breakfast. “My Catholic friends had a lot of free days, like saints’ days, but I didn’t know all that stuff then,” she said. “I would just go with them to Mass and I loved it.”
Read more about Sister Andrea (pdf)
Memorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221.
Leave your comments and remembrances (if you don't see the comment box below, click on the "Read More" link).
I was blessed to have Sister Andrea accept my offer to teach at St. Mary Catholic Central High School. And what a teacher she was! Always demanding, always creative, always well prepared, Sister Andrea was the best of the best in the social studies department. How lucky were the students who were blessed to be taught by Sister Andrea.
I will be forever grateful for the gift and blessings of having Sister Andrea as a teacher at Aquinas High School. She taught with such passion and encouraged me to learn and embrace that knowledge with joy. She was a very special and gifted teacher. There are just a few teachers who touched my heart and whose lessons have improved my life. Sister Andrea was one of those very special teachers. Thank you Sister Andrea for all you have given me. Rest In Peace
When Sr. Andrea's professed name (Sr. Joseph Helen) was mentioned, I remember Sister Andrea/Joseph Helen. I remember her as a teacher at St. Joseph Grade School. It always amazed me how calm the sisters were when they monitoring the recess session. Sister Andrea/Joseph Helen never seemed to be bothered by the cold.All the Adrian Dominicans were an integral part of my education (religious and scholastic). God bless all.
Rest in peace with Our Lord Sr. Andrea.I had the privilege of being one of your students at Aquinas HS. You were the best teacher ever!
Our Adrian Dominican cemetery with its circular headstones is a beautiful place of rest for women who gave their lives in service to God—and a peaceful place for contemplation and remembrance.
We will post memorial reflections on our faithfully departed Sisters and Associates. If you would like to reflect on a Sister or Associate who has gone before us, please send your reflections – no more than 500 to 600 words – to
We invite you to meet some of the wonderful women who have recently crossed into eternity.