Sister Marie André Walsh, IHM
MONROE, Mich. – Sister Marie André Walsh, IHM, 101, died of natural causes Friday, May 8, at IHM Senior Living Community in Monroe.
Elinore Catherine Walsh, born May 26, 1918 in Portland, Maine, was the daughter of John and Mary (Murray) Walsh. She and her brother Larry grew up there and were immersed in an educational environment from early ages. Though it was during the Great Depression, their parents saved for their college educations, and Elinore attended Marygrove College in Detroit. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Marygrove, a master’s degree from Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., and a doctorate in foreign language education from the University of Texas, Austin, Texas.
At Marygrove, Elinore met sisters from the IHM community and began to discern her call to religious life. On July 31, 1939, Elinore entered the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Monroe, and received the religious name Sister Marie André. She was an 80-year Jubilarian this year.
Immediately upon entering the IHM congregation, Sister Marie André began a long, distinguished academic career specializing in French and Spanish. Her teaching ministry brought her to St. Mary Academy, Monroe; Immaculata High School, Marygrove College and St. Charles, Detroit. In 1966 she was missioned to Austin, Texas, where she and four other sisters set up a college for women, Maryhill College, at St. Edward’s University. The college later merged with St. Edward’s. While teaching, Sister Marie André initiated and directed the Bilingual-Bicultural Teacher Education Program, a national award-winning program to train Spanish-speaking teachers for the bilingual classroom. She secured federal funding to educate children of migrant farm workers in Texas and assisted in establishing a parochial school system in the Samoan Islands. In 1986, in addition to her teaching responsibilities, she was appointed the first Vicar for Religious for the Diocese of Austin. She retired from St. Edward’s in 1991 and held her role as vicar until 2004.
Upon her retirement Sister Marie André returned home to IHM Senior Living Community. She worked in the Archives Department and kept the Motherhouse Chronicles. She also served on the Elder Council, planned retreats and lectored at liturgies.
Sister Marie André was preceded in death by her brother, Lawrence. She is survived by nieces, a grand-nephew, numerous friends and her sisters in community.
A memorial Mass will be held at a later date. Arrangements were under the direction of the Rupp Funeral Home, Monroe. Memorials may be made to the IHM Retirement Fund, 610 W. Elm Ave., Monroe, MI 48162-7909.
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