May They Rest in Peace: Sr. Therese Lenihan, IHM

Sr. Therese Lenihan, IHM, 93, died Tuesday, Dec. 28, at her home, the IHM Sisters’ Motherhouse.

Therese Lenihan was born Sept. 27, 1928, to Thomas Joseph and Katherine (Gilgannon) Lenihan in the Bronx borough of New York, New York. Her father’s employment led young Therese to travel and make new friends as she attended Our Lady of Assumption (New York City), St. Agnes (Cincinnati) and St. Mary of Redford (Detroit). She graduated from St. Mary of Redford High School and had completed her first year of study at Marygrove College when she entered the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Monroe), receiving the religious name Sister Catherine Marie in 1947.

Sr. Therese Lenihan, IHM
Sr. Therese Lenihan, IHM

As Sister Catherine Marie, her teaching ministry began at St. Francis de Sales, (Detroit) and St. Joseph, (Monroe) and was quickly advanced to secondary education at high schools St. John (Benton Harbor), St. Mary of Redford, St. Patrick and St. Vincent (Detroit). Her teaching skills and mastery of subjects were held in high regard. As the times were changing for women religious, Sister Terri, as she was known, extended her ministry to pastoral, parish work, and adult religious education at St. Theodore of Canterbury (Detroit), St. Kieran (Utica), St. Peter (Eaton Rapids), and a short stay as Librarian at Holy Cross High School in Marine City. By 1971 she had earned a master’s degree from the University of Detroit.

In the 1970s, Sister Terri moved to Denver, Colorado for study, refreshment and new ministries. Working as a teacher and in multiple business capacities, she gained an impressive business acumen. In the mid-1980s she was hired by Marygrove College to implement the first computer labs on campus for students.

Ministry callings led her to Aurora, Illinois, and the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, where she directed the mission assignment of the men’s religious order. After six years, she returned to Monroe and put her business skills to work in the Congregation’s offices of Human Resources, Communications, Computer Services and in Campus Operations, at the beginning of the Motherhouse Renovation project.

Her sister Margaret, and brother Thomas J. Jr. of California preceded her in death.

Because of COVID-19 restrictions, services will be private at the IHM Motherhouse Chapel on Monday, Jan. 3. Services will be Livestreamed beginning at 10 a.m. and may be viewed until Jan. 24, 2022. Burial will follow in St. Mary Cemetery. Arrangements are under the direction of the Rupp Funeral Home. Memorials may be made to the IHM Retirement Fund, 610 W. Elm Ave., 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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