May They Rest in Peace: Sr. Antoinette McNamara, IHM

Sr. Antoinette McNamara, IHM, died Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023, at the IHM Senior Living Community.

On June 13, 1926, Mary Antoinette was born to parents Walter and Agnes (Tully) McNamara in Chicago, Illinois. She attended St. Anne Grade School and St. Martin Commercial High School (Chicago). She followed her sister to St. Mary Academy, a boarding high school operated by the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Monroe. She entered the community in 1943 and received the religious name Sister Jean Clare. Her graduation followed in 1944.

Sr. Antoinette McNamara, IHM
Sr. Antoinette McNamara, IHM

A graduate of Marygrove College, Sister Jean Clare began in educational ministry with elementary students in Detroit at St. Agnes, St. Boniface, Gesu, Our Lady of Good Counsel, Our Lady of Help; several years at St. Mary, Mt. Clemens and St. Michael, Miami, Florida. In 1965, she was missioned to teach at Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) High School in Westchester, Illinois. This began her ministry as assistant, then head librarian at IHM High School for over 10 years, as well as earning a master’s degree in library science at Rosary College, River Forest, Illinois.

Sister returned to the use of her birth name and was well known as Sister Antoinette. She was later missioned to teach and serve as a librarian at St. Mark School, Cleveland, before taking a sabbatical year of renewal at Mt. St. Joseph University, Cincinnati.

In 1982, she joined the administrative staff of the Ministry Resource Center, in Chicago. In the late 1980s, she brought her skills to the operation of the St. Mary Conference Center on the Monroe campus. She enjoyed that position for 10 years, during which time she resided at Norman Towers. She continued as administrative staff during the green renovation of the IHM Motherhouse.

The 2000s brought a reduced schedule, retirement and volunteer opportunities with library skills at the community’s IHM Library and Resource Center. She moved to the Motherhouse in 2003 and enjoyed the updated renovations, rekindling friendships, telling stories and working with many staff persons. Only recently did her physical health decline.

Sister Antoinette is survived by her niece Coleen Desmond and nephew Thomas Flynn. She was preceded by sisters Jean Flynn, Colette Desmond and Josephine (Sister Joecile), IHM.

Services will be held at the IHM Motherhouse Chapel, 610 W. Elm Avenue, Monroe, Monday, Aug. 21. Welcoming of the body begins at 9 a.m. with a Remembering and Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. Livestreaming begins at 10 a.m. and may be viewed until Sept. 11, 2023. Burial will follow in St. Mary Cemetery. Arrangements are under the direction of Rupp Funeral Home. Memorials may be made to the IHM Retirement Fund, 610 W. Elm Avenue, Monroe, MI 48162-7909.

Obituaries for clergy and religious who have lived or served in the Archdiocese of Detroit may be emailed to [email protected]. Obituaries are printed as they are submitted, but may be edited for grammar and style. Detroit Catholic reserves the right to refuse or edit any submissions.



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