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The Laier family farm in Lima Township, Michigan, near the city of Chelsea, was the birthplace of Helen Zita Laier, the first daughter and third-oldest child of Gustave and Rose (Merkel) Laier.
Helen was born on August 10, 1932, joining her brothers Carl and Edward. She was followed by five more siblings: Thomas, Lawrence (who died in infancy), Robert, Teresa, and Donald.
Gustave was a native of Boden, Germany, while Rose was born in Sylvan Township, Michigan, which adjoins Lima Township. The couple bought their farm in 1927, and as a child Helen explored every inch of the property with its two large barns.
She and her brothers attended a one-room schoolhouse a mile down the road, where she was the only child in her class. “In the eight years I attended that school there were never more than twelve students,” she wrote in her autobiography, adding that she was never “academically inclined” and enjoyed recess more than any school subject. “This, I think, was due to the fact that at home we didn’t play – we had to help with the work,” she wrote.
Read more about Sister Helen (pdf)
Memorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221.
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