On October 23, 1927, twin girls entered the world in Detroit, born to Robert and Irene (Whitty) Buchanan. First came Virginia and then, fifteen minutes later, came Mildred Marylyn, or Millie, the future Sister Robert Irene.
The girls were Robert and Irene’s fourth and fifth of eight children in all, two boys and six girls. Three of the children died while quite young. According to Robert Irene’s autobiography, she and her twin did what twins so often do: they dressed alike so as to fool people. Once, when their teacher asked how she was ever going to tell the pair apart, dressed as they were in their identical blue and white striped school uniforms, young Millie responded wittily: “My stripes go up and Virginia’s go down.” One of their other pranks to confuse a teacher was to switch seats in class.
Virginia and Millie attended public school for first and second grade and then spent the rest of their elementary schooling at Detroit’s Christ the King School. High school was at Immaculata High, where they were taught by the IHM Sisters.
Millie worked for several years after graduation, first at Kay Wright Jewelers in downtown Detroit and then for the Ronson Lighter Company. Then Virginia made the decision to join the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration (Franciscans) in Mishawaka, Indiana, becoming Sister Mary Luke, and Millie began her own exploration of religious life. Six months later, in June 1951, aged twenty-four, she entered the Congregation.
Read more about Sister Robert Irene (pdf)
Memorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221.
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