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Of all the women who entered the Adrian Dominicans after having experience in the working world, at least one, Margaret Ann Swallow, can lay claim to being a real-life “Rosie the Riveter.”
Margaret Ann was born on September 30, 1923, in Alpena, Michigan, to Arthur and Mary (Mulavey) Swallow. She was the couple’s only child – a second child, a boy, died very early – although she said in an interview for her life story that she never considered herself an “only child” because many of her father’s brothers and sisters lived with her family off and on over the years once the Swallows moved to Detroit.
Arthur worked for the power company in Alpena and then was a line supervisor for Detroit Edison. The family came to Detroit when Margaret Ann was two years old, living first in St. Francis Parish and then in Gesu Parish, where she attended elementary school. She got to know two separate groups of women religious in those years: the Immaculate Heart of Mary Sisters who taught at Gesu and the cloistered nuns at Mary Reparatrix Convent, across the street from the school.
The Gesu schoolgirls visited the cloistered nuns, some of whom came from abroad, every Wednesday for needlework and sewing, and “on one occasion we were asked to accompany two French nuns to the dime store,” Sister Margaret Ann said. “That was an adventure for us, since the sisters could not speak English well.”
Read more about Sister Margaret Ann (pdf)
Memorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221.
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