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“… [A] gentle woman who loved children and her ministry of teaching both children and adults.” This was how Sister Peggy Coyne, Adrian Crossroads Chapter Prioress, described Sister Theresa Nightingale at Sister Theresa’s wake service.
The oldest child of Lawrence and Christina Nightingale entered the world on November 19, 1930, in West Terre Haute, Indiana, and was baptized Theresa Mae. Seven more children would be born to the couple over time: five brothers (Joseph, William, Gerald, Virgil, and Richard) and two sisters (Marjorie and Florence).
Lawrence was the fourth oldest of fourteen children, and when he was just nine years old, he quit school in order to work and help support the family. He worked in the coal mine located at the Sisters of Providence motherhouse in Terre Haute. He and Christina met as teenagers and married when he was twenty and Christina was nineteen. According to Sister Theresa’s biography, Lawrence’s family was the only Catholic one in West Terre Haute and all the other families belonged to the Baptist church – which was pastored by Christina’s father.
Lawrence soon moved to Detroit to find a better-paying job and went to work at the Hudson Motor Car assembly plant, sending money home to Christina, who remained in Indiana with her parents. Not long after Theresa’s birth, mom and baby joined Lawrence in Detroit. The family lived in Guardian Angels Parish, and it was there that Theresa began school in 1935.
Read more about Sister Theresa (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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