In Memoriam

Sister Sarah Cavanaugh, OP (Michael Henry)


Sister Sarah Cavanaugh, formerly known as Sister Michael Henry Cavanaugh, died on Wednesday, April 15, 2020, at the Dominican Life Center in Adrian. She was 91 years of age and in the 72nd year of her religious profession in the Adrian Dominican Congregation.

Sister Sarah was born in Detroit to Harry and Alice (McNamara) Cavanaugh. She graduated from St. Paul High School in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan, and received a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in education, both from Barry College (University) in Miami Shores, Florida.

Sister spent 56 years ministering in education in Chicago and Wilmette, Illinois; Fort Wayne, Indiana; Miami Shores, Florida; and Detroit and Adrian, Michigan. Sister was principal of St. Vincent De Paul School in Fort Wayne from 1962 to1967, St. Gerard Elementary School in Detroit from 1976 to1983, and Regina High School in Wilmette from 1983 to 1989. She was school supervisor in Detroit for two years, and Associate Vice President of Barry University in Miami Shores for 18 years.

In the 1970’s, Sister Sarah served for seven years as Provincial Administrator and Co-Provincial in Immaculate Conception Province in Detroit, Michigan. Recently, she ministered from 2007 to 2019, as an administrative assistant and volunteer at the Adrian Rea Literacy Center.

Sister Sarah became a resident of the Dominican Life Center in 2007. She was preceded in death by her parents; one sister, Mary Alice Higbee; and two brothers, Michael Cavanaugh and John Cavanaugh. She is survived by one sister, Sue Cavanaugh of Naples, Florida, and two brothers, Joseph Cavanaugh (Nancy) of Bloomfield Village, Michigan, Patrick Cavanaugh of Naples, Florida; loving nieces and nephews; and her Adrian Dominican Sisters. 

Due to COVID-19 mitigation protocols, the Dominican Life Center is closed until further notice to all guests or visitors. All are welcome to participate in Sister’s wake and funeral via live stream

The Vigil Prayer will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 21, 2020, in St. Catherine Chapel. A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered in St. Catherine Chapel at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 22, 2020. Burial will be in the Congregation cemetery. 

make a memorial gift

Memorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221. Funeral arrangements are being handled by Anderson-Marry Funeral Home, Adrian.



Prayer Card (PDF)


Vigil for Sister Sarah (Michael Henry):

Vigil Program (PDF)

Download video. Videos will be posted for 4-6 weeks, then removed.


Funeral for Sister Sarah (Michael Henry):

Funeral Program (PDF)

Download video. Videos will be posted for 4-6 weeks, then removed.


Leave your comments and remembrances (if you don't see the comment box below, click on the "Read More" link).


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Avatar  Peggy Fillyaw Sosey 2 months agoReply

Sister.Michael Henry was a lifelong friend for 69 years and my teacher in third, fifth, seventh and eighth grades at St. Rose of Lima Parish School in Miami Shores FL Her impact on my life and the lives of my fellow classmates was immeasurable. Just this month at the age of 77 we were writing each other to share our unique memories of and humorous incidents with Sister during those eight years she was our primary teacher at St. Rose unaware that that this would be her last month among us. All of us loved her and are grateful to have been her students.
I was also fortunate to have been able to continue my relationship with Sister Sarah throughout the years that followed. We kept in touch by mail and telephone at first and via email and cell phone as those technologies evolved later. After Sister returned to Barry as an Associate VP, we were able to visit in her apartment at the Villa and during meals together in nearby restaurants. When my mother was ill and dying in 2001, Sister visited her often and called me in AZ afterwards to share with me how mom was doing. She was mom’s last visitor in March and led her in a final Hail Mary together before the end of their visit. My last physical visit with Sister was on St. Patrick’s Day March 17, 2001 when she took my sister and me out for breakfast before mom’s funeral Mass at St. Rose.
During Easter week when I tried to call Sister several times for a catch-up phone visit, I was disappointed not to hear her voice at the other end. Instead I received repeated phone recordings stating “Sister is not available at this time”.
Sister was one of a kind....capable and smart yet humble; strong yet gentle; humorous and quick witted; energetic and athletic having grown up alongside brothers she loved so dearly; generous and faithful. Hers was truly a life well lived and focused on loving service to God, family, students, colleagues and friends. I loved her and look forward to being with her once again to spend an eternity with God when that time comes.
Peggy Fillyaw Sosey

Avatar  Jane Cavanaugh 2 months agoReply

Thank you to all the Sisters who made this video possible, so that Sister Sarah's relatives could participate in these events, despite quarantining. Very lovely to watch.

Avatar  Brenda Sparkman 3 months agoReply

I feel so blessed to have worked at the Literacy Center for four years with Sr. Sarah. Every morning she was there before anyone else making sure there was hot water for tea and coffee and cookies out for the tutors and learners. Rest in peace, oh faithful servant, and may perpetual light shine upon you.

Cemetery of the Adrian Dominican Sisters

Our Adrian Dominican cemetery with its circular headstones is a beautiful place of rest for women who gave their lives in service to God — and a peaceful place for contemplation and remembrance. 

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