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When Mary Ellen McGuire, the future Sister Marie Therese Emery, was still an infant, both of her parents were killed in a car crash and she was placed in St. Ann’s Orphanage in St. Louis, Missouri, the city where she had been born on September 27, 1923.
Mary Ellen was adopted at the age of three by Miss Blanche Emery, who had previously adopted eight other children, and was renamed Marie Therese after St. Therese of Lisieux. She was raised in Ypsilanti, Michigan, where Blanche was an English professor at the Normal College (later Eastern Michigan University) there and the first in the nation to teach children’s literature.
According to Sister Marie Therese’s autobiography, Blanche, who was forty-five years old when she adopted her new daughter, was condemned by many in Ypsilanti because she had adopted all those children. But she was “strong in mind and resolute in any task she decided to fulfill,” yet at the same time “beautiful, gentle, kind and thoughtful.” She built the first ranch-style home in the city so her children had plenty of space – complete with child-sized tables and chairs until they were big enough for the adult furniture – and created a library of more than two thousand children’s books for them to read.
Read more about Sister Marie Therese (pdf)
Memorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221.
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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.
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