Sr. Kathleen De Smedt, IHM, 87, died Wednesday, June 12, in the McGivney Way Memory Care unit at the IHM Senior Living Community. She resided at the IHM Motherhouse since 2010. 

Sister Kay, as she was known, was born Sept. 2, 1931 in Detroit, Michigan. Her father, Omer De Smedt, was born in Belgium and her mother, Margaret O’Boyle, was born in Ireland. They married in Detroit. Kathleen attended St. Mathew, Detroit, and St. Mary Academy, Monroe, graduating in 1949.

Mass of Christian Burial will be held at the IHM Motherhouse, 610 W. Elm Ave., Monroe, on Tuesday, June 18.
Sr. Kathleen De Smedt, IHM

That summer, she entered the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Monroe and received the religious name, Sister Joseph Rita, in honor of her parents.  

Sister Kay earned a bachelor’s from Marygrove College and master’s degree in education from Wayne State University, Detroit. Most of her teaching ministry was in the early grades of elementary school and included Annunciation, Holy Trinity, St. Catherine and St. Patrick, Detroit. She was a successful principal at Annunciation and St. Matthew School, Detroit; Sacred Heart, Roseville; and for many years in administration of St. Peter Grade School, Harper Woods. At Bishop Gallagher High School, Harper Woods, Sister Kay served as guidance counselor, in administration and as assistant principal.

She lived in Sterling Heights and St. Clair Shores for many years during active ministry, including parish ministry at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Roseville. While retired and living in St. Clair Shores, she volunteered at area Catholic schools. Moving to the Motherhouse in 2010, Sister Kay reconnected with many friends and enjoyed volunteering among the Motherhouse community and was especially active in supporting the IHM Development Office, Royal Blue Classic and IHM Raffle.  

Sister Kay is survived by sister, Barbara Furlong, nieces and nephews and her sisters in community. She was preceded in death by her parents, sister, Margaret, and brother, James.

Visitation will be held at the IHM Motherhouse, 610 W. Elm Ave., Monroe on Tuesday, June 18, beginning at 9 a.m. A Remembering and Mass of Christian Burial will begin at 10 a.m. Burial will follow in St. Mary Cemetery on the Motherhouse Campus. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the Rupp Funeral Home, Monroe. Memorials may be made to the IHM Retirement Fund, 610 W. Elm Ave., Monroe, MI 48162-7909.