May They Rest in Peace: Sr. Laura Smith, CSJ

Sr. Laura Smith, CSJ, passed into eternal life on Jan. 4, 2024. She was 91.

Laura Smith was born in Flint, Michigan on December 28, 1932, the daughter of Frank and Mary Margaret (Shegos) Smith. She was a member of St. Agnes Parish in Flint, Michigan at the time of her entrance into the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Nazareth on January 11, 1959. She received the name Sister Lorena at her reception on July 2, 1959, but later returned to the use of her baptismal name. She pronounced first vows on July 2, 1961, and final vows July 2, 1964.

Sr. Laura Smith, CSJ
Sr. Laura Smith, CSJ

Sister Laura received a Bachelor’s and a Master’s Degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, majoring in vocal performance. She was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to Vienna, Austria, 1966-67. She obtained a Master’s Degree in Counseling and Personnel from Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan in 1975 and a Master’s Degree in Pastoral Theology at St. John Seminary, Plymouth, Michigan in 1979. She also had 4 years of extensive Spiritual Training.

Prior to her entrance, Sister Laura served as a Recreation and Program Director for the US Army Special Services in Stuttgart, Germany. From 1961-1976 she served as an Associate Professor of Music Choral Director and Performer at Nazareth College, Kalamazoo. During this time, she also performed as a soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the Kalamazoo Symphony. From 1979-1987, Sister Laura joined the staff of Community Family and Children Services in Gaylord, Michigan as an Individual and Group Therapist and an educational Programmer and Consultant. From 1987-1995 she served on the staff of the Counseling Center in Three Rivers, Michigan as an Addiction Therapist. From 1994-2003 she began a private counseling practice as she helped establish Transformations, the Sisters of St. Joseph Spirituality Center in Nazareth, Michigan. She served as a staff member, spiritual director/consultant for individual and group retreats and programs until 2003 when she retired and continued spiritual direction as an adjunct member, supporting Transformation programming in the area of Spiritual Direction.

Sister Laura was a professional vocalist, certified Social Worker, licensed professional counselor, certified administer of Myers-Briggs and communication workshops for Michigan Department of Social Services. She developed several co-dependency programs for women and a Diocesan Grief Recovery Program for Gaylord Hospice Program and worked with addicted men and women in jail and on probation. Her greatest love was singing and following the spiritual journey within herself and with others.

Who Laura was extended far beyond her accomplishments. Her beautiful soul allowed her to see beauty always surrounding her, encompassing her and all those with whom she was in contact. Laura was ever the spiritual companion to those who came to sit at her side and receive her counsel, for they knew they were accepted just as they were. Sr. Laura continually deepened her spiritual life and was seen by many as a true mystic. Divine Love is what Sister Laura exuded and with whom she is now united. We have been blessed for having known her. May Sister Laura now sing her praises as she enjoys eternal peace in the presence of her loving God.

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