Sister Elizabeth Whelan

Sister Elizabeth Isabella Whelan, R.H.S.J.
(61 years of service) B.A., B.Ed., St. Thomas University.

Born: January 1, 1906 in South Branch, New Brunswick

Died: August 26, 1992 at St. Joseph Provincial House, Amherstview, Ontario - 86 years of age.

Father: Thomas Whelan
Mother: Sara McDonald

Sister Whelan entered the Chatham convent July 16, 1931. Profession Feb. 16, 1933 and Final Vows Feb. 16, 1936.

Sister Whelan retired to St. Joseph Provincial House on June 11th, 1987 due to failing health. She continued to be alert until the last week of her life. Sister Whelan was an outstanding teacher, a true educator, in every sense of the word. She loved her students and was loved by them - all of whom have their names recorded in "her little black book." For many years, she was able to pull that little black book out of her pocket and tell you the exact year a particular student was in her class, and, in addition, she could recall the more interesting personal qualities of the student. The black book contained the names of every student she taught, so it contained somewhere in the range of a thousand or so names. Sister Whelan educated in the broad sense with time devoted to dance, drama, creative writing, art, as well as the core subjects. The interest and study was all inclusive with a focus on birds, insects, flowers, stars, northern lights, the earth, sun, and moon - the whole universe.

She taught grade five for many years. Parents would request that their children be placed in Sister Whelan's class so they would learn to read and write as well as achieving the added bonus of a behavior modification in many cases. The writing included handwriting, the McLean method of Writing, as well as literary writing. Sister Whelan was the leading spirit behind the St. Michael's lending library. She truly loved St. Michael's Academy and was a happy, fulfilled and devoted staff member for years.

For Sister Whelan, teaching was a profession, the three R's counted, discipline was a way of life both for students and herself, story telling was an art in her classroom, and she introduced her students to all the classics. Religious education was an integral part of her curriculum and she was from the old school with shrines to honor every saint in the church calendar. The Holy Childhood Association flourished with many Pagan Babies being saved with the pennies donated by the students. The students ran the business side of the Holy Childhood and Mission Society, and the meetings were conducted by the Executive with exact adherence to Robert's Rules of Order.

*Also sister Whelan was church sacristan for many years.