“My hope was always to inspire students to be lifetime learners,” says Maria Tardani, OP, a former teacher at Marywood Montessori School, which served boys and girls from preschool through 6th grade and later provided the launching pad for the Stepping Stones Montessori School in Grand Rapids. “I also hoped that they would have a loving heart and respect for all they meet.”

Mary Alice Williams, a community activist and parent of two Marywood Montessori students in the 1970s and 1980s, saw the Sisters through the eyes of a mother. “The Sisters were very invested in the development of my two children, who were very different from each other,” she says. “What they nurtured was that best possibility in each child and they did not expect them to be cut from the same mold.”

“The Sisters gave them a lifelong commitment to learning, and each has pursued a life of the mind that was sparked in the early days with Montessori,” says Mary Alice referring to her daughters who now have careers as a veterinarian and a Montessori-trained teacher, respectively.