The Monroe Advocate featured a small ad on Christmas Day, 1845 soliciting students to enroll in a new academy for educating girls in the Catholic faith. The former Frenchtown settlement named for President James Monroe in southeast Michigan was in the throes of a terribly harsh winter, rendering villagers house-bound. It was all they could do to keep their yule logs burning while preparing the traditional goose or turkey for their Christmas feasts.
The headline that appeared on the second page read: “Young Ladies’ Academy. Under the Direction of the Sisters of Providence” followed by a prospectus of the new school, founded for the purpose of educating the daughters of French-speaking families. It was the beginning of a new model from the soon-to-be renamed Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM), a congregation of women who devised a standard of Catholic education which, over the course of the next 80 years, would evolve and grow to include Marygrove College in Detroit.