Hello wonderful bloggers!!
Welcome to another special guest post by a Rave Reviews Book Club “SPOTLIGHT” AUTHOR!! Congratulations to SHIRLEY SLAUGHTER, a very well-deserving author! She is stopping by my blog today and you can catch her on other blogs all this week. Visit http://ravereviewsbynonniejules.wordpress.com/spotlight-authors/ to find out where she’ll be!
SHE HID HER RACIAL IDENTITY!
I was taught by the Oblate Sisters of Providence (OSP) and was surprised to learn of their connection to the prestigious Immaculata High School (now closed) in Detroit through Sr. Theresa Maxis’ story. None of us ever knew her connection to the IHMs nor were we aware that the apartments named in her memory were on the Campus of Marygrove College also in Detroit. She was bi-racial and the founder of the OSPs and the Immaculate Heart of Mary’s (IHMS). It was an incredible piece of history to learn about.
History is so fascinating. I truly enjoyed every moment spent digging it up.
American Black folks really have a profound interest in learning their history; trying to find out who they are. So much misinformation was out there. So much of our American heritage had been hidden away or distorted. Slaves were killed or maimed for trying to find out who they were. And so any shred of information is valued. I lost both my grandparents and so I am always anxious to know more about my relatives. You feel like you are just as good as anybody else when you learn that there is something for you to be proud of in your past or in something that you were a part of. That’s why I was so focused on learning as much as I could.
Mother Theresa was living the kind of existence that the character from “Imitation of Life” wanted to live. Hiding her true identity so she could take her place in society without being harassed or forced to take a back seat is something I think anybody would have done. If she could pass that’s what she did. If I were in her shoes I would have done the same thing to survive.
Excerpt (Taken from Part II The Oblate Sisters of Providence)
Sr. Theresa Maxis left the Oblates in 1845 seeking to join a more established community. Instead, a Redemptorist priest from Michigan, Fr. Louis Gillet, convinced her to come with him to Monroe to work in a school at St. Mary’s Parish with another group of women. She was having some reservations about the fate of the Oblate Sisters who were receiving so little support and welcomed the opportunity to move somewhere else where she found support.
Detroit Free Press columnist Desiree Cooper wrote that when Mother Theresa came to Monroe, Michigan, she left behind her black identity, as she was bi-racial and could very easily pass for white. She became the first Superior of the Sisters Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM).
There was some controversy in her life after a move to establish the IHM’s in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and she was banned from the Order in later years because she was considered a troublemaker by her Superiors. She lived sixteen years of her life in exile with the Grey Nuns in Ottawa, Canada. She had no contact with the IHM’s during this time, as she was completely severed from them. When she did return, she went to Pennsylvania and was never allowed to return to the Motherhouse in Monroe, Michigan again. Marygrove College in Detroit evolved from St. Mary Academy, which Mother Theresa established with forty students in 1846.
Today, Marygrove has a Senior Citizen’s Complex that bears Mother Theresa Maxis’s name. Because of an attempt by the Church to hide her racial identity and her membership in the all black Oblates, there was not much information readily available on Mother Theresa Maxis. You had to dig deep to find anything. Thanks to the tenacity of Cooper in getting this information of which this author has barely scratched the surface. Mother Theresa may finally get the recognition she surely deserves. Her place in history with the establishment of the Oblate Sisters of Providence and the IHM’s will finally be recognized.
The Oblates, founded in 1829 and the IHM’s founded in 1845, and later Immaculata and Scranton founded in Pennsylvania, share a common interest and have taken steps to remember their common roots. They have a website and they came together in July 2005 to celebrate and remember. The Oblate/IHM Logo Many Stories One Heart 2005, sums up who they are.
There is a whole chapter on this issue. Get the rest of this story!
Question: What are your thoughts about what Mother Theresa Maxis had to do to survive in a brutal society?
Shirley Harris-Slaughter is a Michigan native. She was baptized into the Catholic faith with her family as a child and attended Our Lady of Victory School. Shirley lived the history growing up in this West Eight Mile Community and is uniquely qualified to write about it. She watched helplessly as her parish lost its history and identity. Her love of history has propelled her to write about Our Lady of Victory, and correct its omission from the pages of history.
She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration from Cleary University in Howell, Michigan. She is married to Langston and lives in Oak Park.
Shirley is now a proud member of the Rave Reviews Book Club!
SHIRLEY HARRIS-SLAUGHTER, AUTHOR
Book title: Our Lady of Victory, the Saga of an African-American Catholic Community.
RRBC Seal of Excellence
Genre: Biography; Narrative History
Thank you so much for stopping by today and showing your support to this lovely lady!! I have heard nothing but praise for her book so I encourage you to check it out today!
Until next time……………………………Happy Reading & Reviewing!!