Sr. Mary Rosemond Seymour, RSM, or Rosie as she was known to her many acquaintances, died peacefully at McAuley Life Center on the afternoon of June 3, 2019, in the company of Sisters Carla Knoblock and Margaret Platte.
Sister Rosemond was born nearly 92 years earlier on Sept. 13, 1927, to Napoleon and Catherine (Calkins) Seymour in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her parents christened her Shirley Ann, the second child in a family of four: John (Jack), Shirley, Mary Lou and Sharon.
Shirley Ann spent her childhood years in Grand Rapids, attending St. Francis Xavier School for her elementary and first years of secondary education, but transferred to Mount Mercy for the 11th and 12th grades. In a brief reflection on her reasons for becoming a Sister of Mercy, Sister Rosemond recalled, “I had Sisters of Mercy through my twelve years of school” and “always liked the sister that taught me.” She observed, however, that “It was the sisters who taught me piano lessons that…had an effect on my life.” Sister Rosemond loved her piano lessons as a child and, indeed, loved to play and to listen to music throughout her life. Shirley Ann entered the Sisters of Mercy on September 6, 1945, and, on the occasion of her temporary vows (August 1948), received her religious name, Sister Mary Rosemond. Upon taking her final vows (August 1951), she chose “My God I love Thee” as her ring motto.
Her 48-year ministry as an educator began with an assignment to teach third and fourth grades at St. Francis de Sales School in Holland, Michigan. Soon, however, colleagues and superiors recognized her special talent for teaching basic learning skills, especially reading. Assignments throughout the next several decades were at schools in Cheboygan, Midland, Detroit, Hazel Park, Dearborn, Bay City, Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Wyoming, and Fremont, Michigan, assigned most often to teach first grade and to coordinate reading programs in the primary grades. In addition, she was often the music teacher for the elementary school and often assigned to do the Church music as well.
An educator par excellence, Sister Rosemond was also a life-long learner. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Mercy College of Detroit and a master’s degree with a major in Reading Specialist from Cardinal Stritch College in Wisconsin. Both of which served her well in her years as an educator. After retiring from teaching, Sister Rosemond completed two units of Clinical Pastoral Education as well as hospice training and, eventually, attended the University of Detroit Mercy to obtain a ZA Endorsement which allowed her to teach children up to 5 years of age. Each of these preparations was to improve her ministry after retirement!
New ventures and new venues filled her retirement years. Sister Rosemond volunteered in the pastoral care department at Mercy Hospital-Muskegon and at St. Lawrence Nursing Center-Dimondale. She returned soon, however, to her first love-children: helping at a daycare center associated with COTS, a homeless shelter for adults and children, and a daycare center within the Poverty and Social Reform Institute, both in Detroit.
Lastly, she assisted in fostering 30 children, swaddling them with God’s tender love and mercy - a work which she wisely noted “Will be my last ministry involving young children.” By the celebration of her 80th birthday, Rosemond had moved to full retirement at McAuley Center where she continued pastoral work among her sisters, developed a skill for and love of painting, and enjoyed visits from family, friends and former students.
Sister Rosemond is survived by her brother, Deacon John L. Seymour; her sister, Sharon (Seymour) and Robert Goeldel, her brother-in-law, William Walworth, and many nieces and nephews, great-nieces and nephews, and by her loving Mercy Community.
On Thursday, June 6, a Welcome Home Service will be held for Sister Rosemond at 3 p.m. with a Vigil Service at 7 p.m. The Mass of Resurrection will be celebrated on Friday, June 7, at 10:30 a.m. All services are held at the McAuley Life Center, 28750 W. 11 Mile Road, Farmington Hills, Michigan 48336.