Sister Marie Sheila, baptized Mary Arlene Beatty, was born on August 21, 1920, in Lansing, Michigan. She was the third of seven children born to Howard and Agnes (Torpey) Beatty. Two of her brothers, Billy and Robert, died in infancy: Billy in 1919 and Robert in 1922. Sister Sheila thought both deaths could have been related to the flu epidemic that swept the country after World War I.
In her autobiography, Sister Sheila gave a detailed account of her parents. The following are a few highlights.
My mother was born in Duro, Ontario, Canada, and received most of her education at Loretto Abbey School in Toronto. By the time she was eighteen she was living alone in Lansing. She studied nursing for a year but ended up working as a private secretary. My father was from a Methodist family in Petoskey, Michigan. He worked on a farm to pay for his education in electrical engineering at Michigan State University. After he was baptized Catholic, my parents married and lived in Lansing, where my father found a job doing research on car motors and styling at REO Motor Car Company. [REO were the initials of the founder, Ransom Eli Olds.] When the company was sold to General Motors my father lost his job and we moved to Petoskey and lived with my grandparents until 1921 when my father found a job in Saginaw. It was here that my father began his high school teaching and coaching career that lasted for the next forty years.
Read more about Sister Marie Sheila (pdf)
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