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

Sr. Josephine McNamara, IHM, died Wednesday, May 18, 2022, at the IHM Senior Living Community.

On March 21, 1928, Josephine Theresa McNamara was born to parents Walter and Agnes (Tully) McNamara in Chicago, Illinois. She attended St. Anne Grade School and St. Martin Commercial High School in Chicago. Josephine transferred to St. Mary Academy, a boarding high school operated by the community of Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Monroe. As a student, she entered the community in 1945 and received the religious name Sister Joecile. The next year, she graduated from the Academy.

Sr. Josephine McNamara, IHM
Sr. Josephine McNamara, IHM

As a young religious, Sister Jo (as she was known) taught elementary students at St. John, Jackson; St. Joseph, Dexter and St. Mary of Redford, Detroit. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Marygrove College, Detroit. In 1957 she was missioned to Convento de la Merced in Cayey, Puerto Rico and to Santa Teresita, Santurce, teaching the early grades and English as a Second Language until 1970.

Sister Jo earned a Master of Science degree from Barry College, Miami, and returned to Michigan in 1970. She began in Pastoral Ministry at St. Vincent, Pontiac. Her many gifts endeared her to the parishes of St. Vincent, St. Gerard (Detroit), St. Louise (Warren) and St. Michael (Grand Ledge), serving as Pastoral Assistant and Pastoral Associate.

In 1991, she became Pastoral Coordinator at Good Shepard Catholic Community/Church, Montrose, and remained there through 2009 – a testament to the work and people she loved. Sister Jo’s pastoral ministry extended beyond people. Throughout her career, she adopted senior dogs so they could live out their days with companionship and in a loving home.

After moving to Monroe in 2009, she continued her pastoral work at River House - IHM Spirituality Center, and with all residents and staff on the IHM campus. She never met a stranger and touched the lives of many. She retired to the IHM Senior Living Community in 2020, offering her pastoral presence until changes in health prevented her.

Sister Jo is survived by her sister Antoinette (Sister Jean Clare) McNamara, IHM, and nieces and nephews. She was preceded by sisters Jean Flynn and Colette Desmond.

Friends who have been fully vaccinated are welcome to attend services and are asked to enter via the main entrance on Elm Avenue, supply a phone number for contact tracing, and wear a facial mask while in the building.

Services will be held at the IHM Motherhouse Chapel, 610 W. Elm Avenue Monroe, Monday, May 23. Welcoming of the body and visitation 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 June 4. 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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