Mercy News Article

Sister Mary Justine Saourin, RSM: Educator & author dies at 101

June 13, 2012

Sister Mary Justine Saourin, RSM: Educator & author dies at 101Sister Mary Justine Sabourin, RSM, died on June 13, 2012 at McAuley Center, Farmington Hills.  She was 101 years of age and had been a Sister of Mercy for 85 years. Born in Alpena, Michigan on October 28, 1910, she completed high school at St. Andrew’s in Saginaw and joined the Sisters of Mercy in Grand Rapids on August 28, 1927.  Following a period of personal and professional preparation, she made perpetual vows at Mt. Mercy Motherhouse on August 15, 1933.

Sr. Mary Justine’s early years of ministry were spent teaching in Michigan and Iowa high schools but in August of 1940 she was assigned to work with young women joining the Order in Dubuque, Iowa.  When Mercy College opened in Detroit in September 1941, she was named Dean of Students and teacher of French.   She held this position until 1945 when she moved to St. Jean High School in Muskegon and taught both French and English.  Three years later she was called back to Detroit and became supervisor of schools for the Detroit Province.  During this time and also when she served as Academic Dean at Mercy College from 1953-1961, she continued her doctoral degree studies at Fordham University and at the University of Michigan.

She was appointed by the General Council of the Sisters of Mercy to serve as the Mother Provincial of the Detroit Province from 1961-1967.  During this time her many years in education prompted her to assure each Sister was given an opportunity to earn an advanced degree.  She also bore major responsibility for the design and construction of the buildings on the Farmington Hills property.  This included Mercy Center, the Province administrative building and Mercy High School.

With her life-long interest in research and creative writing, she authored several books including, The Amalgamation, a history of the Union of the Sisters of Mercy in the United States of America, 1870-1929; Risk and Hope, which recorded the history of Mercy College of Detroit, 1941-1966; and Legacy of Excellence, which she co-authored, to complete the history of Mercy College from 1966-1990 when it merged with the University of Detroit to form the University of Detroit Mercy.  She received an honorary doctorate from University of Detroit Mercy, recognizing her vision and leadership through the years as an educator.

Farewell services include a welcoming prayer ceremony at McAuley Center on  June 14, 2012 at 3:00 p.m., a Scripture/remembrance vigil that evening at 7:00 p.m. and the Mass of Resurrection on Friday, June 15 at 10:30 a.m. in McAuley’s Sacred Heart Chapel.  Burial will follow in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Southfield. McCabe Funeral Home, Farmington Hills, is in charge of arrangements.   Memorials may be made to the Sisters of Mercy Ministry Fund, 29000 Eleven Mile Road, Farmington Hills, MI 48336.