In Memoriam

Sister Sarah Cavanaugh, OP (Michael Henry)


As a member of a family where love flourished between mother and father, sister and brother, I developed a feeling of worth as an individual. Loving friendships with boys and girls, men and women in adolescence and adult life have helped me to realize the need to give of myself as well as receive the affection and attention of others. Beyond my need for people I have a great need for a loving relationship with my God.

These words, quoted by Sister Carleen Maly in her homily for Sister Sarah Cavanaugh, were written by Sister Sarah as part of a class assignment at Siena Heights College (University). “Sarah’s life from roots in her loving family extended to desire to share that love with many more as an Adrian Dominican,” Sister Carleen continued. “In her words, ‘I felt impelled to give my entire life to growth in love with Jesus Christ.’”

Sarah Ann Cavanaugh was born on August 24, 1928, in Detroit to Harry and Alice (McNamara) Cavanaugh. The second of Harry and Alice’s seven children – four boys and three girls, born over the course of nineteen years – she was baptized Sarah because she needed to have a saint’s name, but right from the start everyone called her Sally. Everyone, at least, until she entered the Congregation and, she said in her 2016 “A Sister’s Story” video, Mother Gerald disliked the name Sally.

Read more about Sister Sarah (pdf)

make a memorial gift

Memorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221. 



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Avatar  Peggy Fillyaw Sosey 4 years agoReply

Sister.Michael Henry was a lifelong friend for 69 years and my teacher in third, fifth, seventh and eighth grades at St. Rose of Lima Parish School in Miami Shores FL Her impact on my life and the lives of my fellow classmates was immeasurable. Just this month at the age of 77 we were writing each other to share our unique memories of and humorous incidents with Sister during those eight years she was our primary teacher at St. Rose unaware that that this would be her last month among us. All of us loved her and are grateful to have been her students.
I was also fortunate to have been able to continue my relationship with Sister Sarah throughout the years that followed. We kept in touch by mail and telephone at first and via email and cell phone as those technologies evolved later. After Sister returned to Barry as an Associate VP, we were able to visit in her apartment at the Villa and during meals together in nearby restaurants. When my mother was ill and dying in 2001, Sister visited her often and called me in AZ afterwards to share with me how mom was doing. She was mom’s last visitor in March and led her in a final Hail Mary together before the end of their visit. My last physical visit with Sister was on St. Patrick’s Day March 17, 2001 when she took my sister and me out for breakfast before mom’s funeral Mass at St. Rose.
During Easter week when I tried to call Sister several times for a catch-up phone visit, I was disappointed not to hear her voice at the other end. Instead I received repeated phone recordings stating “Sister is not available at this time”.
Sister was one of a kind....capable and smart yet humble; strong yet gentle; humorous and quick witted; energetic and athletic having grown up alongside brothers she loved so dearly; generous and faithful. Hers was truly a life well lived and focused on loving service to God, family, students, colleagues and friends. I loved her and look forward to being with her once again to spend an eternity with God when that time comes.
Peggy Fillyaw Sosey

Avatar  Jane Cavanaugh 4 years agoReply

Thank you to all the Sisters who made this video possible, so that Sister Sarah's relatives could participate in these events, despite quarantining. Very lovely to watch.

Avatar  Brenda Sparkman 4 years agoReply

I feel so blessed to have worked at the Literacy Center for four years with Sr. Sarah. Every morning she was there before anyone else making sure there was hot water for tea and coffee and cookies out for the tutors and learners. Rest in peace, oh faithful servant, and may perpetual light shine upon you.

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